Where Does Valentine’s Day Come From?

Valentine’s day is when lovers exchange greetings, gifts, and expressions of love. But where and why did all this begin? Well, the answer is complicated.

It is suggested that the holiday originates in the Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was also held in mid-February. The spring festival celebration included fertility rites and the pairing off of couples by a lottery system. At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius I banned the celebration, sometimes attributed to replacing it with St. Valentine’s Day to make the pagan festival more Christian.

However, the true origin of the holiday remains vague. Here are some other variations.

There were several Christian martyrs named Valentine, which are often thought to be associated with the day. However, the day may have taken its name from a priest martyred about 270 CE by the emperor Claudius II Gothicus. As the story goes, the priest signed a letter “from your Valentine” to his jailer’s daughter, whom he had befriended. So perhaps that’s where it all began! Other accounts hold that it was St. Valentine of Terni, is the person the holiday is named after; however, it is also highly possible the two saints were actually one person.

Another common legend says that St. Valentine defied the emperor’s orders to secretly marry couples to spare husbands from the war. Perhaps that’s why this feast day is associated with love.

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Yours in Health & Wellness,

Drs. Suzanna and Kira

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