How Valentine’s Day came to be

Tomorrow, Feb. 14, is a holiday known and celebrated by many: Valentine’s Day. Flowers, candy and gifts are common goods exchanged amongst loved ones, family and friends. But the real question is, where did this holiday originate?

Many stories have circulated in regards to how Valentine’s Day came to be. From a pagan ritual that stems from ancient Rome known as Lupercalia to the death of Saint Valentine, there are many ways Valentine’s Day could have started.

Lupercalia was an annual festival held in the city of Rome between Feb. 13 and 15. This festival was known to welcome spring and fertility. However, Lupercalia was also rather dark and violent, with a goat sacrifice for fertility and a dog sacrifice for purification. The women placed their names in an urn and were raffled off as young men chose a name to be paired with for a year’s time. These matchings often ended in marriage. 

The other well-known legend is of Saint Valentine, who performed marriages behind the backs of many after Roman Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men. Claudius II believed that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families. Saint Valentine did not agree with this. When it came out that Valentine went against the law, Claudius II sentenced him to death. 

It was not until the early 1700s when Americans started to celebrate the holiday by exchanging cards and gifts. According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year.

Freshman Lina Luzietti shared her Valentine’s Day tradition with The Hawks’ Herald.

“My mom’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day, so we always do something as a family and share the love. I do celebrate Valentine’s Day too with my long-distance boyfriend by sending him a gift,” Luzietti said. 

Senior Men’s Basketball Captain Rich Pugliese is excited to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year as well.

“I am celebrating this year with my lady. We have dinner plans,” Pugliese said. “Valentine’s Day to me means a day to really show appreciation to those that you love.”

Junior Micayla Kelly also commented on what the holiday means to her.

“Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate the love you have for someone, usually a significant other or even with your friends like ‘Galentine’s Day,'” Kelly said. “This year, I plan on celebrating with my boyfriend… [I] am excited to spend extra time with him and go out to dinner.”