History of Valentines Day

Inaya Henley, Sports and Features writer

The recognized holiday known as Valentine’s Day is one that many love and cherish annually. Every year on February 14, people express their love and affection for each other through the acts of gift giving and date nights. 


The holiday started off as a religious day of worship, then later evolved into a day of romance and love in all regions of the world. The holiday has religious backgrounds from Christianity, as well as from Ancient Rome. 


Pope Gelasius was the bishop of Rome in 492 AD, and he is the one who officially declared February 14th to be Valentine’s Day.  


When Valentine’s Day was initially created, it was meant to be a day where Christians honored a martyr named Valentine. A martyr is someone who is killed because of their religious beliefs. Many would come together to celebrate him by throwing a feast. 


Valentine’s Day was officially declared as a day of romantic celebrations by an English poet named Geoffrey Chaucer in his poem named “Parliament of Foules.” This was around the 14th century, and ever since then the holiday has been celebrated with love and affection.  


According to history.com, there were multiple different martyrs named Valentine who were martyred. The legends differ when it comes to what happened to this martyr and how his death went about, but what comes together in all of the stories is that the martyr was highlighted to be a romantic and heroic figure. 


During the Middle Ages, it was widely believed by people in England that February 14 was the beginning of the birds mating season, which continued on the idea that Valentine’s Day should be a day of romance. Valentine’s greetings have been popular since the Middle Ages, but written Valentine’s did not become widely seen until 1400. 


Valentine’s Day is often represented with a chubby baby shooting love arrows, otherwise known as Cupid. Although this is how Cupid is portrayed to many nowadays, he actually has roots in Greek mythology. He is otherwise known as the god of love, Eros. 


As well as the United States, Valentine’s Day is also celebrated in Britain, Canada, Australia, Argentina, France, Mexico, and even South Korea. This holiday did not begin to be popularly celebrated until around the seventeenth century, and now it is an annual celebration of candy giving, rose picking, and affection showing.