Saint Valentines Day was originally a day to honor a Christian Martyr, Saint Valentine. Geoffrey Chaucer was the first to associate Valentine's day with romantic love all the way back to the middle ages. Some say it was the Romans with their ancient fertility festival of Lepercalia, where men would slaughter a goat for fertility and names were put into urns and a man and woman were chosen to fornicate and hope that they were blessed with fertility, that started this holiday.This is definitely not the romantic love idea we have of Valentine's Day. It was put on the calendar by Pope Galasius in 489 A.D. St Valentine relics can be seen in the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland.
A 14th century poem by Chaucer entitled "Parliament of Fowls", takes place on St. Valentines Day. The poem is about birds that come to parliament to choose their mates Most of the birds, who by the way speak as humans, find a mate except for the lead bird who has 3 male suitors courting her and the poem ends in her taking a year to choose one of them. Many scholars disagree about exactly where this holiday came from.
In the second half of the 20th century is when the exchanging of cards and gifts became commonplace. It was in the 1980's that diamond companies began to promote Valentine's day as a day of giving jewelry. Last year, 190 million cards were bought and exchanged just in the U.S. Valentines Day is celebrated in some form all over the world .
Whether you celebrate this holiday or not, it has roots that were planted almost two thousand years ago. Many shun Valentine's day as a commercial holiday created by the greeting card companies and indeed they did have a hand in it, but history tells us it began along time before these companies ever existed. Now every time you receive a Valentine, you can think of the traditions long past.