Valentine’s Day celebrates love. It is a day to exchange flowers, candy, and greeting cards with your husband or wife, or someone else you desire. It is a popular day to become engaged and to get married.
Historians argue about the earliest roots of Valentine’s Day. Many say it is linked to the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was observed on the 15th of February. That day celebrated the coming of spring and female fertility.
Then, around 1,500 years ago, Christians supposedly began to celebrate the feast day of St. Valentine on February 14.
However, there are several Saint Valentines and several stories about them. One involves Valentine of Terni, a Christian clergyman. He was said to have violated the orders of Roman Emperor Claudius the 2nd.
Claudius was having trouble getting married men to serve as soldiers. So, he banned marriage. Valentine considered the ban immoral and secretly married young Christian lovers, anyway. When the Emperor learned of the actions, he ordered Valentine’s death. The execution is said to have happened on February 14, around the year 300.
Some people say this is the reason the holiday is linked to love.
The exchange of valentines, or written expressions of love, began in the 1500s. The tradition remains popular today. Valentine cards usually include images of hearts, flowers, or Cupid, the Roman god of love and desire. The cards also often include poems. One valentine from the year 1910 reads: “When we meet: The flowers look brighter, And all on earth seems sweet, My heart is always lighter, My darling, when we meet.”
But Valentine’s Day is not only for romance. It can also be a day to celebrate love of family and friends.
I’m Dorothy Gundy.
Dorothy Gundy wrote this story for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
Words in This Story
greeting card – n. a thick piece of paper that is usually folded in half and decorated on one side and contains a message
romantic – adj. of, relating to, or involving love between two people
engaged – adj. promise to be married
festival – n. a special time or event when people gather to celebrate something
Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Let us know in the comments section.