The History Behind Valentine's Day

What's with the hearts and naked winged angels? Who thought up all this stuff?


Valentine's Day instantly brings to mind flowers and chocolates and the color red, all symbolizing romantic love. However, the holiday's namesake wasn't so much of a lover. In fact, very little is known about him at all.

According to Tia Kolbaba, associate professor of religion at Rutgers University, who specializes in early Medieval history and the bible's New Testament, Saint Valentine originally did not have any connection to romantic love.

A Roman martyr early in Christian history, very little is known about the saint whose name has become synonymous with red roses and chocolate, Kolbaba said.

In the late 14th century, the famous author Geoffrey Chaucer connected Saint Valentine's day with the coming of spring and birds mating in a poem called "Parlement of Foules."

From there a "cult of love" began to take root, she said.

"We get this rush of love and romance coming out of those centuries," Kolbaba said.

Around the 18th century, people got into the habit of sending cards to their loved ones, and the modern form of Valentine's Day was formed.

So where does Cupid fit into all of this?

Cupid, or Eros, as he is known to the Greeks, and Amore, or "Love" in Latin, is the god of erotic love, Kolbaba said. His introduction to the holiday is kind of unclear, but the two met somewhere in the middle ages.

"There's this moment in the late middle ages when romantic love and Valentine's Day...get attached," Kolbaba said.

Saint Valentine's feast day was removed from the Catholic Church's official list of feast days, but is still celebrated in spots around the world.

As a result, Valentine's Day grew, but without the support of the Catholic church, Kolbaba said.

The secular holiday is now best known for its celebration of love and affection.

David February 07, 2012 at 10:17 AM
Love is real .my heart is full of joy and happiness
Chidiebere Ann February 08, 2012 at 10:12 AM
You can do with out love. You must love because God is himself.
Jenny Keever February 08, 2012 at 10:12 AM
I love the story of Valentine's Day. I've collected several of the stories on my blog! Jenny http://www.datewishlist.com
Chidiebere Ann February 08, 2012 at 10:15 AM
You can do with out love. You must love because God is love himself.
James Thomas February 08, 2012 at 09:09 PM
As early as I can remember Valentine's day meant hearts flowers and love. Now 57 I will always think of those on February 14th and GOD is Love James Thomas.
Odoabujo princess amaka February 09, 2012 at 02:11 PM
I luv d story of vals day,it has always be a remembrance 2 my life.
Adomasse Bernard February 10, 2012 at 11:45 AM
It's quit right to celebrate val with sincere hearth of love. Berado
greatglory abena February 10, 2012 at 10:38 PM
the needy and those felt unloved need it most.is a time to reconcile with friendr we have hurt and had also hurt us.
The Truth February 14, 2013 at 02:00 PM
Let you not be able to get her something see how much love she got for you then


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »