A look at the history behind Valentine’s Day

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Avery Mariotti

On Feb. 14, many people go out on dates with people close to them in celebration of Valentine’s Day, but that is not how the holiday originally began.

According to History.com, there are two different legends behind Valentine’s Day. Each one of them involves a pastor named Valentine. One Valentine was saving the Catholics from the harsh rule of Rome but was caught and imprisoned and ordered to die. Before being executed, he wrote a letter to the woman he loved. The second Pastor Valentine was performing marriages without the consent of the crown to save young men from being sent off to war.

Encyclopedia Britannica points to a Pagan festival in February that starts a day before Valentine’s Day and ends the day after, called Lupercalia. This festival celebrates the finding of the twins who founded Rome Romulus and Remus.

It also celebrates the fertility of women and the abundance of crops for the year. In the fifth century, the Pope outlawed the pagan festival and made Feb. 14 a holiday for the two pastors named Valentine.

The romantic side of this holiday came about when people in England and France believed that around Feb. 14 was when the birds started mating. This started the romantic notion of Valentine’s Day.

In the middle ages, Valentine’s Day greetings started to become popular, and the written form of these started to appear in 1400. In fact, the oldest written one was penned in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London after the Battle of Agincourt. Several years later, King Henry V had a writer named John Lydgate compose one for one of his wives.

As far as Valentine’s Day history in America, people gave out handmade valentines until around the late 1700s. People started to put Cupid on their cards around the 1800s.

In 1913, factories started to mass produce Valentine’s Day cards. An example would be the Hallmark cards seen today. As time has gone on, one thing hasn’t changed: the gifts. Throughout the ages, traditional gifts were candy and red roses. Today many people still give these gifts to their loved ones.

Many people have now made the holiday about friends and family. With this becoming more and more popular, with the growth of Galentine’s Day, Valentine’s Day to spend time with friends. Going out to dinner or just staying in with friends are popular Valentine’s day plans that many people make.

“My boyfriend and I are getting pizza, then watching a movie at his apartment while we exchange gifts,” said freshman Amanda Sheppard. “My friends and I are going out to get food and celebrate together,” freshman Kate Hanna said.

Florida Southern hosted its own Valentine’s Day festivities including a movie showing of “Love, Simon” presented by the Association of Campus Entertainment (ACE) and some tabling events by various organizations including ACE, College Democrats and  Republicans, and Alpha Delta Pi near The Buckstop.

Cards, candy etc. will be handed out by these organizations.

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