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Valentine’s Day, typically synonymous with romance, actually has a less-than-romantic origin. Here’s a lesser-known account of its history, along with the date of Valentine’s Day 2024, allowing you to make preparations accordingly. Whether you’re a fan of Valentine’s Day or not, it’s undeniable that its history stretches back a long way. While the modern holiday is all about kissing, gifts, and fancy dinners, the true origins are far from romantic. Here’s a simplified version of Valentine’s Day history that you won’t find in a romantic comedy, involving a saint, a massacre, and even some scandalous nuns.
What is true meaning of Valentine’s Day?
The True Meaning of Valentine’s Day
“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”
1 John 1:1
Valentine’s Day is about love, but not everyone feels happy. Remember, God’s love is the most important, and He wants us to love others too. We can do this by being kind and helping those in need. Gifts are nice, but what truly matters is sharing love from our hearts, like God does.
When is Valentine’s Day?
Valentine’s Day is always on February 14th. In 2024, it will be on a Wednesday. Back in the 5th century, Pope Gelasius made February 14th St. Valentine’s Day, and it’s been celebrated ever since. However, it used to be more about religion than romance.
Why is Valentine’s Day celebrated on February 14th?
Early Christians often liked to celebrate their holidays on the same days as existing festivals. That’s why they chose February 14th for Valentine’s Day, which was right before Lupercalia, another celebration happening on February 15th.
Who was Saint Valentine? (And what does he have to do with chocolate hearts?)
St. Valentine’s Day used to be a feast day in the Catholic Church, added to the calendar around 500 AD to honor martyred saints named Valentine. However, since little was known about these saints and their stories conflicted, the holiday was removed from the Catholic calendar in 1969. Legends about Saint Valentine vary, with stories of him refusing to convert to paganism and miraculously healing the daughter of his jailer before his execution. Another legend mentions a bishop named Valentine of Terni who was also executed.
According to another story, Saint Valentine was a Roman priest who secretly married soldiers because the emperor forbade them to marry, thinking unmarried soldiers fought better. Saint Valentine wore a ring with Cupid on it so soldiers could recognize him. He also gave out paper hearts to remind Christians of their love for God. Because of this, he became known as the patron saint of love. The Saint Valentine prayer asks him to bring lovers together and help them remember their devotion to God.
This legend laid the foundation for Valentine’s Day as a holiday for romantic love. But what really cemented the connection between Saint Valentine and love was a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer in 1375, which is considered the start of celebrating Valentine’s Day the way we do today—by celebrating our romantic relationships with one person.
Why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day?
During the Middle Ages, when Geoffrey Chaucer lived, romantic expressions of devotion were popular, known as courtly love. By the late 15th century, the term “valentine” started being used to describe a lover in poems and songs. In the 18th century, a book called The Young Man’s Valentine Writer was published in England to help people express their feelings. By the mid-19th century, mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards became common, and Valentine’s Day as we know it began. However, the history of Valentine’s Day isn’t all romantic; there have been tragic events, like the Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929, organized by gangster Al Capone during Prohibition in Chicago.
What is the meaning of Valentine’s Day?
Over time, Valentine’s Day has had different meanings—it started as a religious day, then became an ancient tradition, and now it’s a commercial holiday. This means you can see Valentine’s Day however you like: You can ignore it, treat yourself to chocolate or flowers, or show love and gratitude to anyone in your life, like friends, family, or romantic partners.
Top 4 Gifts Ideas
In conclusion, Valentine’s Day is steeped in rich history, originating from ancient Roman and Christian traditions, and evolving into a global celebration of love and affection. The exchange of gifts on this day is a time-honored tradition, symbolizing the expression of love and appreciation for loved ones. While classic gifts like flowers, chocolates, and jewelry remain popular choices, personalized gifts and meaningful experiences are increasingly valued for their thoughtfulness. Ultimately, Valentine’s Day serves as a special occasion to celebrate and cherish the relationships that enrich our lives, reminding us of the importance of love, connection, and kindness in our ever-busy world.