Valentine's Day origins

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We all know that February 14th is Valentine's Day, but what you might be unaware of is that the origins of the event as we know it are largely unknown.

There are many stories that historians claim hold the key to explaining why Valentine's Day became an occasion for celebrating love, affection and romance, but a definitive answer has never been uncovered.

So to help you make up your own mind about the true origins of Valentine's Day we've compiled the various legends right here, in one convenient place.

You're welcome!

 

Secret romance

During the third century, it's claimed Roman Emperor Claudius II believed single men made better soldiers than those with wives, so he outlawed marriage for all young men, believing it would provide him with a stronger army. 

A priest by the name of Valentine disagreed with Claudius's theory and continued to perform marriage ceromonies unbeknownst to the Emporer. Unfortunately, Claudius discovered this and ordered Valentine to be executed for his betrayal. 

 

Lupercalia

Still in ancient Rome, a different theory suggests that Valentines Day is actually related to Lupercalia, a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, which also took place in the middle of February.

During Lupercalia all the young women in the city would place their names in a giant urn. Single men would then pull a name out of the urn and become paired with his chosen woman.

However, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 to be St. Valentine's Day around 498 A.D, this tradition was outlawed as it was seen as 'un-Christian'.

Despite this, it's believed by many that Valentines forever became synonomous with romance simply because of it's association with the Lupercalia festival.

 

Love letters

Another tragic legend suggests that a prisoner by the name of Valentine wrote romantic letters to the woman he loved but could never be with, signing off one such love note with the words 'From your Valentine', hence the expression we know today.

 

Love birds

During the Middle Ages, both the French and English were said to have recognised Februrary 14th as the start of the mating season for birds. As a consequence many began associating the date with romance, which eventually evolved into the Valentine's Day we celebrate today.

This theory is supported by a poem written by Geoffrey Chaucer in 1382, to honor the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia, part of which read, "For this was Saint Valentine's Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate."

 

Modern times

Regardless of which of these stories are actually true (if any), Valentine's Day has become one of the most well-established occasions on the modern calendar, with over 1 billion Valentines cards sent each year.

 

And if you're in the market for unique Valentines gifts rather than the usual chocolates and flowers, DotComGiftShop have an excellent range to choose from.

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