Love and romance, chocolate and flowers… These are all things associated with Valentine’s Day as we know it today. However, the journey to this point was filled with heartache, conflict, and was once celebrated on an entirely different day. Being that we’re crazy about market research, we figured what better way to truly understand Valentine’s Day than with a little insight to how the holiday of love came to be!
It all started in 270 AD with a Roman bishop named St. Valentine. During this time Claudius II, the emperor of Rome, forbid marriage with the thought that young men that were free from the attachments and distractions of family life, created a better soldier. Disagreeing with Claudius, St. Valentine held secret marriage ceremonies for young couples. However, he was soon discovered and arrested. While in prison, he fell in love with his jailer’s daughter and wrote her a love note signed “From Your Valentine”, a phrase still common to this day. St. Valentine was martyred on February 14.
This is only part of the story though…
Lupercalia, an ancient Roman fertility festival, was observed on February 15. Due to the rise of Christianity, Lupercalia was moved to February 14 to honor the Roman martyr, St. Valentine. It wasn’t until the 14th century that St. Valentine’s Day became known for love. Geoffrey Chaucer, a poet, first associated the holiday with romance in his poem The Parliament of Fowls where he writes, “For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate.” The bird reference is based on the belief that birds mated on February 14.
Over time, “Valentines” have evolved and grown in popularity. The first valentine on paper (that exists still today) is from the Duke of Orleans in the 15th-century to his wife, sent to her while being imprisoned in the Tower of London. However, the most familiar Valentine poem is from a collection of nursery rhymes in 1784 where it says, “The rose is red, the violet’s blue, the honey’s sweet, and so are you.” It wasn’t until the mid-19th century that Valentine’s cards arrived in the U.S. In 1913, Hallmark made their first Valentine’s card which led to the Valentine’s Day we know, and love, today.
Now that you’ve learned all about the history of Valentine’s Day, you may think that you know everything there is to know about the February 14 holiday. However, there are quite a few unusual things that have taken place over the years on this day. We’ve discovered the most interesting facts about the most romantic day of the year.
Did you know…
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Happy Valentine’s Day!