The Origins of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. It’s a time of love, celebration, and gift-giving, but it didn’t start that way. Diamonds for Less has done its homework (we are Valentine’s experts after all) and we’d like to share with you the fascinating history of Valentine’s Day.

The Myth of Saint Valentine

The history of Valentine’s Day is full of myth and intrigue. There are three different Saints named Valentine that are recognized by the Catholic Church, and the origin story of St. Valentine’s Day are many.

The most well-known story is that St. Valentine was a rogue priest living under Emperor Claudius II in 3rd century Rome. During this time, Emperor Claudius II believed that unmarried men made better soldiers, so he outlawed marriage for young men, under the belief it would keep his soldiers strong. St. Valentine, not yet a saint, believed that this declaration was unjust. In secret, St. Valentine continued to marry young men and women until he was discovered and sentenced to death. St. Valentine died for true love.

The First Valentine’s Day

Like many modern holidays, Valentine’s Day evolved from a pagan holiday. Lupercalia was a fertility festival celebrated on February 15 that was outlawed in the 5th century after the rise of Christianity. St. Valentine’s Day was put in its place and celebrated on February 14th.

Valentine’s Day wasn’t really considered romantic until the Middle Ages, when, thanks to the English and French, it began to be associated with bird mating season. It became popular to write Valentine messages and poems to your lover or spouse on February 14th. The first known Valentine in existence was written by Charles, Duke of Orleans in 1415 to his wife while he was locked away in the Tower of London.

The Modern St. Valentine’s Day

In the modern era, most of the western world celebrated Valentine’s Day after it became a holiday in the 1700s. At this point, it became common to write notes and exchange gifts with both lovers and friends. In the 1800s, in the United States of America, Esther A. Howland began to sell mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards. Howland is known as the “Mother of the Valentine” because of her success.

By the 1900s, printed cards had replaced handwritten notes, and thanks to cheaper postage rates at nationalized mail services, people began to send more Valentine’s cards to more people. Now, it’s estimated that there are 1 billion Valentine’s cards sent each year, second only to Christmas.

Diamonds For Less Has The Perfect Valentine’s Day Gift

Valentine’s Day celebrations are now a cultural phenomenon. More than ever before, lovers exchange gifts and notes of affection. Sometimes gifts are small, like a romantic note or a sweet gesture, and sometimes gifts are big, like a studded bracelet, a necklace, or a pair of earrings.

And did you know? Valentine’s Day is the second most popular day of the year to get down on one knee, take out that perfect diamond engagement ring, and ask your partner for their hand in marriage. Whether it’s proposal day, your 1st Valentine’s or your 50th, Diamonds for Less is proud to be there for you this February 14.