Is Valentines Day a Real Holiday?

Kissing: it’s what I’ll be doing this Wednesday. Why? because I’ve been with my fiancé for six years, and Valentine’s Day is one of the four days that we get to celebrate us.

Some of you might wonder if Valentine’s Day is even a real holiday. You bet your bottom-dollar it is! This crazy Roman holiday is one of the best days of the year (in my needy opinion).

Just to prove my point, let’s add a dash of history. It all started back when the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. In this tradition, men sacrificed dogs and goats, followed by whipping women with the hides of the animal they just murdered. Yes, women lined up for the men to hit them, which they believed would cause fertility. Now let’s add in a matchmaking lottery where young men drew the name of a woman from a jar and they “hung up” for the rest of the festival.

To top all that off, according to NPR, responsibility for the Valentine’s Day name may have come from the ancient Romans.

“Emperor Claudius II executed two men—both named Valentine—on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D. Their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day,” NPR journalist Arnie Seipel said.  

According to NPR, Normans also celebrated a day of love, Galentin’s (lover of women) Day.

Let’s move forward a few years to William Shakespeare. Will’s work romanticized Valentine’s Day and gained the holiday popularity throughout Europe. This eventually led to the handmade cards that we now give to friends in elementary school. After Will, the holiday made it to the New World: America.

“The industrial revolution ushered in factory-made cards in the 19th century,” Seipel said. “And in 1913, Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Mo., began mass producing valentines. February has not been the same since.”

To those who say they hate the holiday—we did this. We turned the holiday into a $17.6 billion industry. We celebrate getting drunk in the name of the green and we praise a man who runs around in one night on a sleigh. Why not celebrate love—as long as we aren’t slaughtering animals or slapping women to do so.

Story By
Samantha Burfiend |

Photo By
Element5 for SUU News