The True History Behind Valentine’s Day

Enija Reed, Editorial Board

Every year when February rolls around the feeling of love is in the air. Everywhere you look there are advertisements and people talking about one of the biggest holidays of the year, Valentine’s Day. But while so many celebrate it, whether that’s through sending your boyfriend or girlfriend a rose during 3rd period or having a nice dinner, not many know the true origin of the holiday.


The ancient Romans hosted a pagan holiday festival called Lupercalia. Historians are unsure of the origin of Lupercalia, but what they do know is that it did originate in the 6th century B.C. Rome. Legends say that the King Amulius ordered Remus and Romulus, the founders of Rome, to be killed in the Tiber River for their mother’s disregard of celibacy. Lupercalia is no longer celebrated within the public. Some non-Christians recognize it in February in replacement of valentine’s day and celebrate in private. 


The symbol of valentine’s day, Cupid, has been around for centuries. Cupid was originally the ancient Greek god of love, Eros. Eros was the son of the Greed goddess Aphrodite. He would use two sets of arrows to play with his target’s emotions, one for love and the other for hate. The Romans recognized the mischief of Eros and adopted him as the childlike figure, Cupid. 


Now valentine’s day has a romantic connotation. Every year on February 14, people purchase chocolates, flowers, and more things that they believe represent feelings for their “valentine”. Those who are in a relationship might go out to dinner, go on a trip to their favorite spot, or even just hang out with their significant other at home. People who are not in a relationship, spend time with their friends, hangout and just watch movies and treat themselves, or treat it like it is just another day in their life. Many people nowadays see the boom in celebration on February 14th as a marketing ploy concocted by the high-ups in merchandise industries.


But whether or not you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, there is no denying the lush history surrounding not just February 14th, but the symbols and events that made it what it is today.