Valentine's Day 2022: The history, significance and all things love

February 14

Not so lovey-dovey for a day of Love

Valentine’s Day has probably got you all mushy with thoughts of flowers, candies, heart-eye emojis and you’re wondering why we even celebrate love specifically on February 14th every year. Hold your horses before you start looking at the world with rose-colored glasses because the history behind this romantic holiday is pretty well… mysterious. 

For starters, historians have been fighting about the origin of this holiday from time immemorial and nobody has substantial proof in favor of any theories, but we are going to unveil the most talked about the story of Valentine’s Day.

Who is Valentine?

It’s possible that the holiday is in honor of two men, both named Valentine, who were executed by Emperor Claudius II on February 14th. It’s believed that the Catholic Church established St. Valentine’s Day to honor the death of the martyrs. 

The Roman Emperor Claudius II who reigned between 268 CE and 270 CE, believed that soldiers should dedicate their lives to the empire and hence forbade them from nuptials. One priest named St. Valentine strongly believed in soul mates and the significance of being united with your loved ones, so he secretly started officiating weddings. Like all good things, this secrecy came to an end when the furious emperor found out. He decided to imprison St. Valentine and eventually execute him on February 14th 270 CE.

Another legend says that St. Valentine was quite romantic and he wrote a letter to his jailor’s daughter after healing her from blindness before being martyred, and that is why the day is celebrated as an ode to love.

Commercialization of Valentine’s Day

Formal messages started to appear in the 1500s, and by the 1700s printed cards came into existence. However, the first printed commercial for Valentine’s Day appeared in the United States somewhere in the mid-1800s. As marketing tactics diversified, Cupid, the Roman god of love, became the ambassador of this day. Surprisingly, as the avian mating season starts in mid-February, birds and especially doves, became a symbol of love as well. 

Love is in the air: All over the world

The day is most popular in the United States and Britain but is also celebrated in several other countries like Canada, Australia, Argentina, France, Mexico, and South Korea. In the Philippines, it’s the most common wedding anniversary and often mass weddings are hosted on the very day. The holiday slowly expanded into expressing affection among friends, siblings, relatives as well.