1. Valentine’s Day Origin
The history behind Feb 14th is kind of helter skelter. But there are two main origin stories from the 3rd century that come up the most frequently.
Valentine's Day Origin 1
The first is...unromantic.
From Feb 13-15 Romans used to participate in a festival called Lupercalia. Instead of candy hearts and Hallmark cards, this OG fête featured sacrificial goats, whipping women to encourage fertility, and a matchmaking lottery where people coupled up for the festival based on drawing names from a jar. #romance
Ah simpler times.
But this tradition probably wouldn't have faired well in the time of COVID (among other reasons).
Valentine's Day Origin 2
The second tale of origin is a lot more popular, but still pretty grim. St. Valentine was a Roman priest who specialized in sneaky weddings.
See, the emperor du jour (Claudius II) banned marriage for soldiers because he believed it made men soft. Valentine was having none of that nonsense, and performed a ton of secret marriages.
Until one day he was caught. He was thrown in jail and fell in love with the jailer's daughter (how risqué!).
Sidenote: she was blind...but was apparently cured by his loving touch (love is not blind I guess).
He was executed on Feb 14th, and wrote a farewell note signed: "From your Valentine."
Valentine was celebrated as a martyr by the Catholic Church, and thus, Feb 14th became "Valentine's Day."
In the 5th Century, Pope Gelasius I apparently combined Valentine's Day with Lupercalia to essentially get rid of the pagan festival and make it a little more PG. Maybe more like PG-13. The holiday became increasingly popular and mainstream. As the centuries went on. It was romanticized by Chaucer and Shakespeare, and folks started to exchange cards.
It became 'commercialized' in the beginning of 20th century.