Is Valentine’s Day Really a Holiday?

Here is a debate you probably don’t want to get into with your spouse. Is Valentine’s Day a real holiday? Is there a real historical significance or does it come down to a branded American money making scheme? We did some investigating to find out.

Most people have heard of Saint Valentine, but don’t know that the roots of celebration can be traced to the Roman Empire. Sometime near 800 BC, Romans celebrated Lupercalia, a festival of fertility in the month of February. The Christian roots didn’t happen until Pope Gelasius I declared February 14th to be Saint Valentine’s feast day in the 5th century.

Here is where it gets interesting, unlike Saint Nick, historians are not sure which Valentine Pope Gelasius intended to celebrate.

There were several men (both named Valentine) said to be martyred on the 14th of February that could potentially be one reason.

The legend that persists is St. Valentine was a priest who went against a Roman Emperor’s wishes by continuing to perform marriages. The emperor believed that withholding marriages would make better soldiers, and eventually, Valentine was caught and martyred on February 14th.

However, another story exists as well. One story claims Valentinus, a jailed Christian Martyr, fell in love with his jailer’s daughter and sent her a love note, known today as “a Valentine.” Some say that he was persecuted for his love of his God and his faith, and that is where the celebration of love originated.

In any case, it isn’t clear. So in 1969, the Catholic Church removed St. Valentine’s day along with other feast days whose origins were unclear. By then, it had already evolved into a multi-million dollar holiday. Most traditions include cards, candy, flowers, going out to eat, jewelry, clothing, and other gifts. In fact, it is estimated that more than 35,000 heart shape boxes with candy will be sold in the US this year.

So, it seems, originally Valentine’s Day was a warranted holiday, but now it’s more of a tradition than anything else. This February 14th make sure to have something special for your sweetheart. After all, no one wants to break tradition.