Valentine’s Day means something different to everyone. For some, it’s flowers, cards, chocolate, and grand gestures. For others, it’s just another day — whether that means spending time with loved ones or not.
Today, Feb. 14 has become synonymous with love, but when did it begin?
The exact origin of Valentine’s Day, named for a Christian martyr dating back to the 5th century, is not known but it has ties to the Roman holiday Lupercalia.
However, the origins and identity of St. Valentine are unclear. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there were at least three different St. Valentines, all martyrs, and all mentioned in the early martyrologies under the date of Feb. 14. One was a priest in Rome, the second was a bishop of what is now Terni, Italy, and the third was a martyr in the Roman province of Africa.
Although the history of Valentine’s Day is unclear, it has become highly commercialized. According to National Retail Federation, Americans are expected to spend $20 billion this Valentine’s Day – ranking the holiday third to Christmas and Mother’s Day.
While some people may complain about the commercialization of Valentine’s Day, Helen Fisher, a sociologist at Rutgers University, told NPR the holiday is popular because people want it to be.
“If people didn’t want to buy Hallmark cards, they would not be bought, and Hallmark would go out of business,” she said.
What do you think? Are you a fan of Valentine’s Day? Tell us in the comments.