The History Of Valentine’s Day

What was the story before the roses and chocolates?


Photo via Public Domain

Mikaela Bennett, News Writer

Valentine’s Day is well known as a holiday for celebrating people’s love for one another. Romantic cards and heart shaped boxes full of chocolate are passed on to significant others and some build up courage to ask “Will you be my valentine?” Most see February as a month full of love and joy, but how did this all start? 

St. Valentine is the catalyst and namesake behind the significant holiday, evolving from both Christian and Roman tradition.

 “One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome,” according to

During his time, Valentine would allow young lovers to be married in secret, although it was not allowed. At the time, the majority of marriages were set up by parents and the rules had to be strictly adhered to. After other officials had found out about his actions, Valentine was beheaded. A young girl he had fallen in love with before his death later found a letter signed “From, your Valentine.” Over time, St. Valentine grew more popular in England and France, with his letter going down in history.

Cupid, a Roman God, is also very popular when it comes to the history of Valentine’s day. The God of love in all forms, he is often pictured on cards and other Valentine’s Day items. Cupid is known to have launched arrows at unexpecting lovers and caused them to fall in love, his legend becoming more widespread with other religious adaptations globally.

According to, Pope Gelasius declared Valentine’s Day to be on February 14 in order to replace a pagan fertility festival, making the 14th a day of feasting on the Catholic Calendar of Saints. Over time, Valentine’s day was adapted into the ‘hallmark’ holiday that continues to be observed worldwide.