Flowers and chocolates and diamonds, oh my! This is the 2014 version of Valentine’s Day. Annoying Facebook statuses being changed from “In a relationship” to “Engaged.” Instagram pics of rings and gifts, and tweets filled with love quotes. But why do we get all lovey-dovey and celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14th?
First of all did you know that there was a St. Valentine? Well thanks to the History Channel now I do. As with any good love story there’s a little bit of violence and this one is no exception. As legend has it, St. Valentine was a priest in third century Rome under the Emperor Claudius II. Claudius decided that single men were better soldiers than married men who had wives and children to care for and distract them. St. Valentine was not having that and publicly defied Claudius and continued performing marriages. That’s when ish got real and Claudius ordered that St. Valentine be killed. His death allegedly occurred in the middle of February, which is why we celebrate on February 14th. Really romantic stuff.
There’s also a rumor that we celebrate VDay on February 14th because Christians wanted to “Christianize” the pagan festival of Lupercalia which is celebrated on the 14th or 15th of the month. Lupercalia was a fertility festival (how fitting is that?) and apparently all of the single ladies had their names placed in a large urn and the single men would draw a name from it and be paired with a woman. Not exactly a Nicholas Sparks novel, huh?
Another suggestion as to why we celebrate Valentine’s Day is because back in the middle ages, February was the beginning of mating season for birds which is partially how Valentine’s Day became associated with the idea of love and romance. Americans didn’t begin celebrating Valentine’s Day with handmade cards until about the 1700s.
And there you have it folks. The reason we celebrate Valentine’s Day. While it may have become a commercial holiday, any reason to give and receive chocolate and watch The Notebook on a loop is okay by me- no matter how it originated. But please, try to keep your mushy social media posts to a minimum.