So, Happy Valentine’s Day for all those who celebrate it! And yes, I will take this opportunity to join the million other blog posts talking about this day and I am happy to do so! *nods*
Curious behind the reason Valentine’s Day exists, I googled it. I mean, I know it’s a good day to show your love for your special someone or your family or people in general, but how did Valentine’s Day come around? How did it come to be that we celebrate it the way we do? Why? I’m just weird like that. As much as I appreciate the existence of it, I’d like to know how we arrived to its modern day version.
We celebrate in honor of St. Valentine who is a mystery. According to History.com, with their Valentine’s Post “History of Valentine’s Day“, there are at least three different Saint Valentines and all were martyred. Yikes!
The legends about Valentine’s are murky, but they seem to centralize around the theme of love. One legend was that the Emperor felt soldiers are better single so he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine didn’t agree so he continued to perform marriages even if they were young men and he was put to death for it. Whatever the legend, he is remembered as a romantic figure by the Middle Ages and it stuck.
There’s also belief that when Christianity started to spread, they created Valentine’s Day in the middle of February to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival. While surviving the initial rise of Christianity, Lupercalia was outlawed by the end of the 5th century–5th CENTURY, imagine that!–and Pope Gelasius declared Feb. 14th St. Valentine’s Day.
I won’t steal all of History.com’s article, it’s a good read, but that’s the general information I found surrounding this marketing campaign. I’d love to learn more about the hows and the whys, and I may just get a better feel when I take American Popular Culture next semester, but it’s a great start. Personally, I don’t like all the hype surrounding Valentine’s Day and for the most part I believe that capitalism really spins it out of control. On the other hand, I enjoy the fact that couples, friends, family can take this opportunity to celebrate love and what it means. I enjoy the fact that we can take a moment to appreciate love.
You should also take a look at History.com’s other article, “6 Surprising Facts About St. Valentine.” That’s a good one too.