The History Behind Celebrations of Valentine’s Day
- Author: Anushka Published: 28th January, 2022
Valentine’s Day is way more than date nights, romance, chocolates, roses, fancy dinners and things that are observed today. Its history goes way back to the pages when the holiday was anything but rosy and romantic. So how come V-Day got all wrapped into lovey-dovey details? What’s its true origin? And while we’re at it, how does Cupid come into the picture? Familiarise yourself with the history of V-Day celebrations by getting yourself acquainted with some key details.
The Legend of St. Valentine
Valentine's Day got its name after Saint Valentine, who would secretly help Christian couples get married. It was due to the crazy idea of Roman Emperor Claudius, who was against men getting married, that married soldiers do not make good warriors. The Saint was imprisoned and tortured in the Roman jail. He fell in love with a mysterious girl there and sent her a love note signed ‘from your Valentine’ just before his execution - the famous, romantic sign off as we see today. Fast forward 200 years, February 14 was officially proclaimed as St. Valentine’s Day.
Origins of Valentine’s Day: A Pagan Festival in February
The origin of Valentine’s Day has different stories associated with it. According to the legends, proclaiming the 14th of February as the date for St Valentine's feast day was an attempt to 'Christianise' the pagan fertility festival celebrated in Lupercalia. The festival is dedicated to the Roman god of agriculture Faunus, and Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.
Valentine's Day and Love
The renowned poet Geoffery Chaucer was the first one to link St. Valentine with romanticism. Even William Shakespeare started writing about the V-Day in love-stricken ways, romanticising the holiday further. Soon people began to pen, send and exchange love letters expressing their affection. Valentine’s Day flowers, cards, chocolates and more became a common affair by the 1900s.
Who is Cupid?
Cupid - the winged baby - is one of the official symbols of this lovey-dovey holiday. In Roman mythology, it is said that Cupid was the son of the Goddess of love - Venus. He would shoot arrows at both humans and Gods, making them fall in love with one another instantly. Also, St. Valentine used to wear a ring with Cupid on it. This helped soldiers recognise him.