It is a day of love and romance and spending lots of money on your significant other, but do people really know how Valentine’s Day came to be? No one knows the exact year that Valentine’s Day was started but it is most likely traced back to Ancient Rome. As with the cave men, men would hit women to “hit on them” thus showing their interest. From Feb. 13-15 Romans would celebrate Lupercalia (a Pagan celebration to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility) by sacrificing dogs and goats and whipping women with the hides. Women would line up to get whipped thinking it would make them fertile.
In the 3rd century AD Emperor Claudius II murdered two men, both named Valentine in two different years on the day of Feb. 14. This made them martyrs and the Catholic Church honored them and named the day St. Valentine’s Day. Later in the 5th century AD Pope Gelasius I combined St. Valentine’s Day and Lupercalia to expel the Pagan ritual.
It wasn’t really romanticized until the days of Shakespeare and Chaucer. It became extremely popular in Europe. Hand-made cards were the perfect gift at that time.
Eventually the celebration hit the New World. The industrial revolution ushered in factory-made cards in the 19th century. And in 1913, Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Mo., began mass producing valentines. And people have been buying them ever since.
However now it isn’t just the card people buy. People will spend all of their money on gifts that are excessive. In 2017 Americans spent $18.2 Billion on Valentine’s Day. 18.2 Billion dollars spent on one day. So remember, when you are buying your gifts or celebrating by eating candy, you’re also celebrating the bloody history of Valentine’s Day.