Valentine’s Day: A History

Every year on February 14, people in the United States rush around buying their romantic interests chocolates, flowers, cards, and other gifts. It is a holiday that teenage girls dream longingly about, while at the same time causing teenage boys to cringe. Children often give each other Valentine’s Day cards in school, and decorate their classrooms with red, purple, and pink hearts. Televisions broadcast commercials advertising the latest and greatest necklace, bracelet, or pair of earrings, with high hopes that men will purchase them for their special someone. Whether you love it or you hate it, Valentine’s Day returns every year with all of its Cupid-themed festivities. But what exactly is it about this holiday that sparks reactions in people?

First, let’s take a look at some history.Originally, the Catholic Church acknowledged the existence of three Saint Valentines, all with different stories filled with minute and complex details. This makes determining the origins of Valentine’s Day a challenge, because one has to decide which saint is the one associated with the modern holiday. Some people believe that it all began with a Roman fertility festival and feast which often took place in February (well, the February of ancient times.) Nevertheless, the concept of Valentine’s Day (or month, really) has been around longer than most people think.

It was also commonly celebrated in the Middle Ages, mostly in France and England. It is said that people thought that February 14 was the beginning of the mating season of birds, so that month or time of year was frequently associated with love and romance. Back then people expressed themselves verbally, for the first hand-written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until the 1400s. Fast forward to America in the 1700s and the first hand-made Valentine’s Day cards began to crop up. Nearly a century and a half later in the 1840s, a company started to mass-produce them. Today, people send more cards on Valentine’s Day than on almost any other holiday, with the exception being Christmas. And Americans aren’t the only ones who are crazy for this holiday- it is also celebrated in Australia, Canada, France, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.

Now that the history aspect has been taken care of, let’s get back to the original question: What is it about Valentine’s Day that evokes such an interest, such a reaction in people? Personally, I think that as humans we are perpetually obsessed with romantic love, so why not make a holiday out of it? I think that Valentine’s day should be about friendship in general and not just focused on romantic relationships. But that’s just me.

Information was gathered using the following source: www.history.com

Yours,

HOLLY

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