Tales of Valentine’s Past
Posted On Feb 07, 2018
By: Chris Sanchez & Billyne Francois
It’s that time of the year again. Love is in the air, the colors red and pink are everywhere, and stuffed animals are staring out of windows enticing you to come by. That could only mean one thing, Valentine’s Day is near. Approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine’s Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas.
Valentine’s Day is a special holiday where you get to share quality time with the people who love you, but what do you really know about Valentine’s Day? Take a journey with us and learn about this Day of Love.
An Origin to Remember
The roots of Valentine’s Day is an age-old discussion in the historian community. One of the most popular theories is that it traces back to the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Ancient Romans spent their February 15th dedicating a fertility festival to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture. This jovial feast day eventually turns into a dark ritual as the participants sacrifice a goat and a dog, for fertility and purity respectively. Obviously, Valentine activities aren’t as brutal as they once were, but the spirit of love and fertility still holds true.
The Tale of Two Martyrs
The story goes that Roman Emperor Claudius II thought that single men made better soldiers, so he outlawed marriage. A Christian Priest named Valentine found the stifling of love unjust and secretly wed young couples. He was executed for his “crimes” in the name of love. Another story highlights a second Valentine who helped Christians escape being beaten and tortured in harsh Roman prisons. This Valentine is also said to have sent the first valentine greeting when he fell in love with the jailor’s daughter and before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine.”
Both of these men were executed by Claudius II on February 14, but in different years of his reign. The Catholic Church now recognized these martyrs as saints and the world celebrates their commitment to love and understanding.
Bell’s Patented Invention
The modern Valentine’s Day owes a great debt to the invention of the telephone. I mean, how would you make plans with your husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, or crush without the convenience of a smartphone? This incredible innovation can actually be traced back to February 14, 1876, the day where Alexander Graham Bell applied for a patent of the telephone. The rising speed of information has made long-distance dates a possibility and last minute ones a breeze. Even when life gets in the way, your partner is only a press of a button away. Just think how different our world would be if Bell never applied for United States Patent No. 174,465.
A Chocolate a Day Keeps the Love in Place
Flowers, jewelry, and handwritten cards are nice gifts to receive on Valentine’s Day, but we all know the thing that we really want to sink our teeth into: Chocolate. And lots of it too according to the National Retail Federation as they tracked $1.7 billion spent on the delicious cocoa confections on Valentine’s Day. But when did that become a thing? That actually can be traced back to the Aztec’s as chocolate was known as the food of the gods. Later on, as the European’s took chocolate from the Americas back home they treated it as an aphrodisiac and it quickly spread throughout the aristocracy. In the 1800’s, chocolate made its way to the masses, culminating in its introduction to Valentine’s Day in 1861 when Richard Cadbury created the first ever heart-shaped box filled with chocolate.
Valentine’s Day is a holiday steeped in tradition and history that frames how we view the day. It’s a day of love, compassion, and bringing people together. So, share this Valentine’s Day with a person who understands and loves you like you deserve.