February is not only the second month of the year, it also hosts one of the most important dates of the year for people who are in love.
We’re talking, of course, about Valentine’s Day. Nowadays, it’s pretty common that you spend Valentine’s Day celebrating with your partner, confessing your secret love to your crush or even spending it with a bunch of friends.
Even though Valentine’s Day is supposed to celebrate couples, there’s people who also take the opportunity to give thanks for their friendships.
But when did this day really begin? What’s the story behind one of the most romantic days of the year?
How did it transform into the all-red, filled-with-roses event we know and love? In this article we’re going to explore the origin of Valentine’s Day and why is it really important to celebrate it currently.
The real story behind Valentine’s Day
The story behind Valentine’s Day is almost like a legend, because the original version has been transformed many times until becoming the version we now all know and love to tell.
Turns out, this day is named after Saint Valentine, a Catholic priest who lived in Rome around the 3rd Century.
During Saint Valentine’s times, many people were converting to Christianity. In spite of this, the emperor Claudius II was a pagan who decreeted many laws to reinforce romans’ devotion to their nation; including a law that prevented them from getting married.
In retaliation for this action, Saint Valentine began marrying soldiers in secret with the women they loved in Christian ceremonies; thus preserving the importance of love for all people.
For his actions, Saint Valentine was imprisoned. There, he took care of other prisoners including a blind girl whom, legend has it, he cured. Before being executed, on February 14th 270, he wrote a farewell letter to the girl signed “From your Valentine”.
How did Valentine’s Day become what it is now
200 years after these events, Christianity was well set into the Roman Empire. In order to reinforce Christian beliefs and get rid of paganism, the Pope proclaimed February 14th as Saint Valentine’s Day.
It wasn’t until the middle ages that the poet Chaucer linked Valentine’s Day with love, and especially romantic love. In this time the trend caught on for people to proclame romantic feelings of love to other people, particularly in secret, signed as “Your Valentine”.
The custom spread all over Europe and soon people held events on this day where people read love poetry and played flirtatious games.
Over time people took more and more importance to this day and began celebrating it with their beloved ones, later on even spreading the day to a celebration of friendship.
The symbols of Valentine’s Day
This tradition of sending love messages developed into one of the most known symbols all around the world: Valentine’s Day cards.
These types of cards are very elaborate because they’re supposed to represent just how much love a person feels for their significant other, and they can contain poems, sonnets, rhymes or simply a confession of the romantic feelings they have for others.
Other important symbols people have adopted in order to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a modern way are heart shaped balloons, Valentine’s Day stuffed animals, boxes of chocolates, red roses and bottles of wine.
Another cool fact about Valentine’s Day is that the heart shape we now know could possibly come from an ancient plant -which naturally has a heart shape- that was commonly used as a contraceptive.
How to celebrate Valentine’s Day
So you know the origins of Valentine’s Day and how it really developed into what you nowadays know and do. Maybe you’ve never had a typical Valentine’s Day and you’re wondering how to celebrate it properly with all its traditions and usual activities.
If you want to celebrate the perfect Valentine’s Day, you can start by buying your significant other a bouquet of red roses, a box of chocolates in a heart-shaped box, a heart shaped big and shiny balloon and an adorable Valentine’s teddy bear.
Your evening can continue with a romantic dinner either made by you at your place filled with candles or at a fancy restaurant where you two can open up a bottle of wine.
It’s always nice to share dessert while you talk about your relationship and say nice things to each other, and don’t forget that your night cannot end without a romantic card or letter signed by “Your Valentine”.
As you can see, Valentine’s Day has evolved greatly from the days that Saint Valentine used to believe so much in love he secretly married soldiers even though he risked his own life, to the days where you can innocently crack up a bottle of wine and whisper sweet nothings to your partner.
Don’t be afraid to celebrate this Valentine’s Day the classic way and dive into the spirit of love.