The History of Valentine’s Day

Megan Pociask

Features Editor

Many people on the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s campus are certainly familiar with the joys and simultaneous woes of Valentines Day. In fact, Galentine’s Day was established to juxtapose such an emotionally whiplashing event dedicating itself as q day to celebrate friends on the 13th of February each year. 

Though many are thoroughly knowledgeable of the origin of Galentine’s Day, not many are familiar with the history of Valentines Day itself. While the holiday’s specific origins are uncertain, the day is often attributed to Saint Valentine, rooting itself in a Christian historical context. But that seems to be the furthest extent most know of Valentines’ Day beginnings. 

“I know there was a Saint Valentine that [the holiday] was based off of, but I’m not sure what he did,” said UNCG student Isabelle Jewel. Another student speculated that Valentines Day was initially a Roman or Greek holiday. While both understandings are generally somewhat correct, Valentines Day has a much more complex history than what many might realize. 

Within the Catholic church, there are actually three martyred saints recognized as Valentine. 

One view of the origins of Valentines Day regards Emperor Claudius II. It is said that he forbid the marriage of young men under the supposed belief that single men make better soldiers. Valentine refused to obey Emperor Claudius II’s law and continued to marry young couples until he was put to death for his illegal stance on the right to marry. 

Despite the many stories of how Valentines Day came to be, it is known how the day was formally established. Pope Gelasius officially declared February 14 as Valentines Day at the end of the fifth century and ever since, the holiday has continued to evolve into a further celebration of those we care for and who care for us. 

“I love celebrating! I don’t have a partner this year, but I’m celebrating with my friends and we all bought each other chocolate. I think it’s very beautiful and romantic even though I don’t have a Valentine this year,” said Jewel. 



Categories: Features

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