Do You Know Your Valentine History?

What has dark origins, is observed each and every year, is celebrated in respects to a Catholic saint, and was a time for Roman men to sacrifice one goat and one dog? Valentine’s Day. As we all know, Valentine’s Day is celebrated every year on February 14th and is now seen as a time for love, candy and flowers, but few know the actual history of the event. One of the origins of the celebration is from the Roman feast of Lupercalia, which took place every year between February 13th and 15th. During this feast, a man would sacrifice a goat and a dog and then use the hide to beat women. Young women especially would line up to be hit because they believed it would make them fertile.

Now, you may be asking how we get the name of this dark holiday, and that may too come from the Ancient Romans. One myth says that Emperor Claudius II banned marriage for young men because it would make them better soldiers, and then a Catholic priest named Valentine defied him. After the emperor realized this, he ordered the priest to be put to death, thus making the priest a martyr. While this may just be a myth, we do know that the Catholic Church recognizes at least three saints named Valentine and all three were martyred.

While no one may know for certain the true origins of the holiday we recognize as Valentine’s Day, most people in the United States do celebrate it. Today it is now seen a time for love and taking your significant other out for a special night. This year alone, more than 20 billion dollars will be spent for the holiday, and more than 58 million pounds of chocolate will be purchased during Valentine’s week. Some LCA students have big plans for the special day, including Chase Widmer, 11.  He says,“I have a basketball game, and then I plan on going to dinner with my girlfriend and getting her some chocolate and flowers.” For others like Miles Houk, 12, and Zeke Grier, 11, they do not have any plans because they currently do not have a significant other. Valentine’s Day is even more special for Abby Kruger, 11, because it is also her birthday. She plans on going out to eat with her whole family to celebrate. Regardless of how we came to recognize February 14 as a special day, it is clear that Valentine’s Day is different for everyone, and everyone celebrates differently.