Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day each year on February 14. It has evolved into a holiday that includes flowers, chocolates, cards, and love. You’ll even find the occasional cherub thrown into the mix!
Where did Americans get this holiday?
Although Valentine’s Day origins are disputed, we do know that the Roman Empire had a celebration called Lupercalia that happened on February 15. The event was essentially a spring festival to commemorate the start of the planting season.
When Christianity rose in Rome, the holiday got moved back a day to celebrate martyrs named Valentine. The reason why love came into the mix is likely due to the belief that birds would select their mates on that day, which is why we still have the term “lovebirds” for romantically associated couples.
The First Commercial Valentines Were Sold in the 1800s
Most valentines during the early years of this holiday depicted Cupid. You could also find hearts and emotional messages printed for people to give to each other.
Red roses became the most popular gift because the flower symbolizes beauty, passion, and love.
This celebration pre-dates the European settlements on the North American continent. The first formal messages given to others appeared in the 1500s. In the late 1700s, commercially printed cards were being distributed throughout Europe.
It wasn’t until the mid-19th century that Americans got involved with the formal holiday spirit.
That means many of the traditions we follow today were imported from other countries. Many nations continue to celebrate Valentine’s Day, including Australia, Argentina, France, Canada, the UK, South Korea, and Mexico.
In the Philippines, Valentine’s Day is the most common wedding anniversary in the country.
Since those first days, the holiday has now expanded to offer kindness and gift exchanges with friends and other relatives.