The history of Valentine's Day
By: Anika Hukmani
As we enter the month of February, many of us start to buy roses, eat chocolate heart shaped candies and put up pink decorations around our house. On February 14th, many people celebrate the meaning of love. Valentine's day isn't just a day to celebrate the love for a significant other, but to commemorate the love between two family members, friendships, yourself and how hard you’ve worked, or even objects that are sentimental to you.
During the 5th century, Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families and outlawed marriage for young men. A priest named Valentine, did not seek that to be fair and deified Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Hence, creating Valentine’s Day as a way to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine's death.
Not much later, the meaning behind Valentine's day switched from celebrating death to being associated with love. Fast forward to the middle ages, the meaning behind Valentine's day changed when Charles, the Duke of Orleans wrote a love poem to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Additionally, France and England believed that February 14th was the beginning of bird mating season, which contributed to the idea that February 14th should be a day of love.
Valentine’s Day only became popular during the 17th century and was celebrated all around the world from the United States to Mexico. As new traditions were made, it was very common during that time for friends and significant others of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection like handmade notes, and as technology improved many started to create ready made cards to give out! Today, Valentine's day is the second largest card-sending holiday with over 145 million cards each year!
Valentine’s Day is an amazing holiday that anyone and everyone can celebrate! Spend some time creating cards for loved ones, buy flowers, go out on a date, put up decorations, volunteer and give back to people in need, and sprinkle kindness everywhere you go! No act of kindness is ever too small! But, most of all reflect on the values that you’ve learned from this day and try your best to incorporate it into your daily life!
Sources: History.com Editors, A. (2009, December 22). History of Valentine's Day. Retrieved January 30, 2021, from https://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day-2