Valentine’s Day, celebration that has lost significant association with its origin!

14th of February, known as Valentine’s day worldwide. Every year lovers exchange roses, chocolates, and romance on the holiday in some parts of the world. All had ever known about this day was everyone gets a little card, candy or chocolate, flowers, gift, and L-O-V-E was in the air.

But that’s not just the story. Valentine’s day, one of the most ‘adaptable’ occasions, which has been accepted and celebrated in variable terms by people over all these years since it has become popular all around the globe hasn’t been associated with love from the beginning.

The day has its roots in the ancient Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia and has grown to become a global holiday. Amazingly one can find tons of things over the social media including gift ideas, quotes, dining suggestions, valentine’s day’s special and the list goes on.

Many brands all across the globe cash this particular day every year as people declare their love to their family, friends, and significant others.

In the last few years or better say over the last decade thanks to the rapid globalization, valentine’s day here is known to all. Though being a conservative society people are not openly passionate about it but it is somehow celebrated with a local touch, some love it and more leave it.

Well, this day has never existed before in history like its present commercial characteristics. it has surely gone through an evolutionary phase over the past centuries. And the process is still continued. Lately, a Dubai company advertised for the occasion that it could box you up and sent it to your valentine in a customized delivery on valentine’s day. Not sure how many opted for that service.

According to historians, there exists a theory that the Christian Church decided to “Christianize” the pagan fertility celebration of Lupercalia on February 15. The festival which used to celebrate the Roman god of agriculture, Faunus, and the Roman founders, Romulus and Remus.

Not just that, there are reported to be at least three early Christian saints by the name of St. Valentine and the claim is that all three of them were martyred 14th of February.

There is another legend, as most of the scholars believe that the St. Valentine of the holiday was a priest who attracted the disfavor of the Roman Empire Claudius II sometime around 270 AD. The legend says that the saint was martyred as he refused to renounce his religion.

There is another version to this story, Valentine was a priest who performed marriages for young lovers in secret when King Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers and outlawed marriage. He was put to death for his illegal actions but helped spread the love.

He was killed when he helped Christians escape torturous Roman prisons. And also that an imprisoned Valentine sent a letter to his supposed captor’s daughter. He was in love with her and sent writing “from your Valentine.”

And back in 496 AD, Pope Gelasius I, recalled the pagan festival as a Christian feast day declaring 14 February to be St. Valentine’s day.

This day has certainly evolved constantly for the period of time. It took centuries to take its modernized form for being associated with love, flowers, chocolates and intimacy. However, it has definitely become associated as being one of the most ‘profitable’ occasions in a calendar year.

It wasn’t until the 18th century when the modern version of valentine’s day started to take its roots. Gift giving and exchanging handmade cards of V-day had become common in England. In the 1850s the tradition of Valentine’s cards become widespread in the U.S. While the writing of notes has long been a tradition of Valentine’s day, which dates back to the 17th century,

It was Esther A. Howland who started mass production of the valentine day cards in the 1850s. and now in the present time, these cards have become a million-dollar business globally. Person to receive most of the number of these valentine cards are school teachers.

Not just cards, during the late 1800s, it was Richard Cadbury invented the first valentine day candy box. And that’s how the full love package started to evolve. And don’t forget to add up the million dollars’ flower business as well.

In present times, worldwide on every valentine’s day over 50 million roses are given to the dear ones. Valentine day and mother’s day are the two biggest occasions which have flowers to give away.

Valentine’s day has evolved from a day that honors Saint Valentine to a day that is relevant for the feelings of love, from the passionate desire and intimacy of romantic love to the nonsexual emotional closeness of familial love, which is more spiritual in nature.

In fact, this is one celebration that has lost a significant association with its origin. In 1969, the Catholic Church revised its calendar. By removing days of saints whose historical were questionable according to the Catholic Church. And St. Valentine happens to be one of them.

Seems like history repeated itself. Just like Lupercalia was deemed un-Christian and prohibited at the end of the 5th century when Pope Gelasius declared Feb. 14 as St. Valentine’s day.

And don’t forget about the Valentine’s literature how love birds have expressed their feelings in written letters, poems. Though in Britain February 14th did have associations with nature and fertility.

The oldest record available is Geoffrey Chaucer’s 14th century poem, Parliament of Fowls. No records exist of Saint Valentine’s Day celebrations before this poem.

The poem which celebrates the betrothal of England’s Richard II and Anne of Bohemia in 1380: “For this was on Saint Valentine’s Day, / When every foule cometh to choose his mate.”

 The other major work includes if Charles, Duke of Orleans, who was imprisoned after the battle of Agincourt, spent his lonely days writing romantic verses to his wife. On February 14th, 1415, he wrote about melancholy: “I am already sick of love, / My very gentle Valentine.”  The duke’s prison poems are now regarded as the first ‘valentines.’

And who can forget Shakespeare, who also cites Saint Valentine in Hamlet, when  Ophelia ruefully says:

‘Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s Day, / All in the morning betime,

‘And I’m a maid at your window, / To be your Valentine.’


So what do you think what’s so great being in love and celebrating Valentine’s day?




Saman Siddiqui

I am a freelance journalist, holding a Master’s Degree in Mass Communication and an MS in Peace and Conflict Studies, associated with the electronic media industry since 2006 in various capacities. Here at OyeYeah, I cover a range of genres, from journalism to fiction to fashion, including reviews, and fact findings. 

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