The History of Valentine’s Day

Alexis Gutierrez, Writer

Valentine’s Day is a day for love and relationships; it is seen as the one day a year where the world universally celebrates the people they are in love with.


The actual history of Valentine’s day is not actually 100% certain. However there is an idea of how it came about. It was not always a day for love; it was once a Pagan festival.


The Ancient Romans had a festival called Lupercalia, a day that originally was supposed to be sacrificing of a goat or dog, to fertilize women. Then they would have women stand in a line and whip them with the skins of these animals, the women believed this would make them fertile. Then the men would run around naked eating lots of food and getting drunk.


The festival was from Feb. 13 to Feb. 15 During the festival, men and women were paired off during a lottery like matchmaking, in which the couple would stay together during the remainder of the festival and if the match was right they would stay together forever.


History teacher for 10th graders at Downey High, Ms. Kwa, speaks on the differences from the chinese version of the Feb 14 Holiday her family celebrated in Vietnam.

“Instead of Valentine’s day, we celebrate chinese new year, with fireworks and all the children would get red envelopes full of cash, it’s not celebrating love, nothing like that,” Kwa stated.


In 3rd century A.D. two men that were both named Valentine were killed under Emperor Claudius II on February 14, during two different years, one of whom, Priest Valentine, was killed because he was performing forbidden wedding ceremonies for young men and women, when emperor Claudius II decided young single men were much more valuable knights, and forbade any young men in Rome to marry. During the time Priest Valentine was arrested, he had fallen in love with the jail keeper’s daughter, he wrote her a letter then signed it, From your Valentine, this is where the phrase originates.


Mrs. Cleek, advisor for the Amigos Club, and teacher of English 10 and 11 states the differences in Valentine’s day and the Holiday 20 years ago.


“I believe that Valentine’s day today is basically the same thing there’s still cards and candy,” Cleek stated. “I do feel like there more moderatery about different kinds of love, you know, it’s not just couple love anymore it’s friendships, and family now as well.”


In 496 A.D. the church came to honor these men and it is said the once pagan ancient romans, slowly morphed into strict catholics, that translated the holiday from whipping women for fertility, to a feast to end the ritual of Lupercalia, then eventually into giving people candy hearts and cards confessing their undying affections of love.


Downey high also celebrates the day of love by selling spoken love cards for people who do are too anxious to confess how they feel toward someone, the Viking club is selling them for $1.