Happy Valentine's Day, Dahlgren! If you've always wondered how this unique holiday came to be, here's a look at the history behind the festivities.
- While many believe that Valentine's Day celebrates Saint Valentine, there were actually a number of Christian martyrs named Valentine. Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni were just two of them.
- The likely origins of Valentine's Day as a celebration come from the Roman fertility festival Lupercalia. During this event, Roman men and women danced, drank wine and hoped to find a husband or wife. Like the modern Valentine's Day, it was celebrated in mid-February.
- Since Lupercalia came to be when Romans were Pagan, the festival changed once Christianity came to Rome. After that, the festival honored Saint Valentine and became a bit less wild.
- Alternatively, some scholars believe that Valentine's Day was actually constructed by 14th Century poet Geoffrey Chaucer. These historians say that before Chaucer wrote about springtime being a time of romance, no one linked Saint Valentine to anything at all romantic.
- Today, studies show that Americans spend an average of $18.2 billion, or $136.57 per person, on gifts for Valentine's Day. Whatever its origins, the holiday has become synonymous with love, romance and gift-giving in modern culture!
Valentine’s Day: Did It Start as a Roman Party or to Celebrate an Execution? [The New York Times]