The Secret History of Valentine's Day

Today, February 14 is all about love, but it wasn’t always this way. Once, Valentine’s Day was a violent celebration. Find out more about the origins of Valentine’s Day now!
The origins of Valentines Day

How Valentine’s Day Came to Celebrate Love

February 14, the day of love. A day set aside just to celebrate romantic love. Those who have just begun dating and those who have been married for fifty years or more will make plans to go to dinner, exchange gifts, and spend time together. However, Valentine’s Day wasn’t always a celebration of romantic love. Once, it was a much darker event. Some of the first celebrations around February 14th include: 

  • The Lupercalia Festival
  • The Feast of St. Valentine
  • The Charter of the Court of Love

These could be included in your creation of a personalized Valentine’s Day ecard to send to your love!


The Lupercalia Festival

Some historians believe that the Festival of Lupercalia in ancient Rome would plant the seeds of what we know today as Valentine’s Day. Lupercalia was a feast to honor Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage and a mythical character called the Capitoline Wolf. The legend goes that the wolf suckled Juno’s sons, Romulus and Remus, who would become the co-founders of Rome, when they were lost as infants. 

Then, in about the 6th Century BC, Luperci priests would take to the streets after anointing their foreheads with the blood of dogs and goats they had sacrificed. Dogs and goats were a sign of virility. After wiping clean the sacrificial knife and their foreheads, the priests would cut strips of goat hide and run through the streets, whipping any women nearby with the hide. 

Some women would step in front of the priests, wanting to be hit with the hide because they saw this as a way to help in the delivery of their future children or to free them from barrenness. 


The Feast of St. Valentine

Several early Christian Popes tried to abolish the Lupercalia Festival; Pope Gelasius in the fourth century finally succeeded in creating the Feast of St. Valentine, celebrated on February 14. This was a celebration to honor the Christian martyr St. Valentine, who was said to marry Christian couples in secret and to help Christians who were being persecuted for their faith. 


The Charter of the Court of Love

This festival began in AD 1400 by King Charles VI of France during the plague. The celebration was supposed to be a distraction for people because of the trying times. To celebrate, court members would meet for dinner in Paris on February 14, and they would sing an original love song to the girl of their choice. The songs would be judged by the young women at the event and the best song would “win”. 

This celebration is what led to the exchange of candy, gifts, and flowers that we recognize as Valentine’s Day today. 


The Earliest Valentine

Did you know that one of the earliest Valentine’s is thought to be Geoffrey Chaucer’s book, The Parliament of Fowls? Chaucer wrote the book because most people in Medieval Europe believed that birds choose their life mates; he wrote the book, imagining that the goddess Nature was pairing off all of the birds in preparation of Valentine’s Day. Nature dreams that as he passes by the Temple of Venus that the birds have gathered to choose their mates. But, three male eagles debate to win the heart of a single female eagle, things go awry, and none of the male eagles win the heart of the female. More facts about The Parliament of Fowls: 

  • The poem is 699 lines
  • At the end, the birds welcome Spring
  • It was written between 1381 and 1382
  • It was also known as the Parlement of Foules and the Assembly of Fowls or Assemble of Foules


How to Make Valentine’s Day Memorable

The key to making Valentine’s Day special for your loved one is to make it personal. Think of things that you like to do together or that you perhaps don’t make enough time for during your day-to-day lives. Perhaps you could go on a picnic, see a movie, or spend a night over a leisurely dinner without the kids at the table. There are many more ways to make Valentine’s Day special for your spouse found here.


How to Write a Valentine’s Day eCard in Just 5 Minutes

Writing a Valentine’s Day ecard is all about the sentiment. Valentine’s Day ecards can be sent to a romantic love, but they can also be sent to best friends, children, parents, and grandparents. There are several ways to begin a Valentine’s card: 

  • Happy Valentine’s Day
  • Today, tomorrow, and forever, Happy Valentine’s Day
  • It wasn’t love at first sight. It took a whole five minutes. ~ Lucille Ball
  • In all the world, there is no heart for me like yours. In all the world, there is no love for you like mine. ~ Maya Angelou

Once you have chosen the sentiment for your card, sign your name. Then double check the email address so that you know the card will arrive at the right address. The final step is to schedule the card. You will want the Valentine’s card to arrive early in the day, so schedule it to arrive in the morning hours, and remember that time zones may be different where you are and where your loved one is.