Flashback: what is the deal with Valentines Day?

1 year ago Triangle 0

Written by: Kimberly Mckernie, Staff Writer

Every year, the 14th of February has millions of people gifting their loved ones with candy, flowers, chocolates and dinner dates. Couples fill restaurants, cafes and eateries, eager to celebrate their relationship in the name of St. Valentine. So, who is this saint, and why is he associated with love?

The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition.

Legend suggests that St. Valentine died helping Christians escape the harsh Roman prisons filled with beatings and torture. But another legend suggests that the first “valentine” by the Saint to a young girl who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, legend says he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is in use today. The truth behind St. Valentine’s history is murky at best. However, many stories all underline Valentine’s sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. In the Middle Ages, Valentine became one of the most popular saints in England and France.

Romans executed two men on February 14th by the of St. Valentines.

Americans began exchanging handmade valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines. Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. A common Valentine’s Day gift include flowers, chocolates, candy, and champagne or sparkling wine. Some people use the occasion to present lavish presents, such as jewelry. In fact, an estimated 4.5 billion dollars is spent on jewelry in the year 2016, with the average age spending the most ranging from 25-34. Whichever method couples use to spend the day, this romantic holiday is a romantic and memorable day for many couples.

Having a particular day to celebrate love is a very old tradition. The first Valentine’s Day was in the year 496, and thought to of originated from the Roman festival called Lupercalia in the middle of February – officially the start of their springtime. Thought as part of the celebrations, boys drew the name of a girl from a box and for the duration of the festivities, they’d be boyfriend and girlfriend, and sometimes they would get married.

Kimberly McKernie is a communications major with a focus on media and culture and is the
social media coordinator and junior writer.