The history of Valentine’s Day

How did Valentine’s Day become such a big part of our culture?

SAN ANTONIO – Valentine’s Day has been a part of our culture in the United States since we can remember.

Some of us grew up being forced to bring Valentine's Day cards for all the classmates, and just like that, we were programmed that February 14 is a day for romance, love, flowers, chocolates and expensive Hallmark cards.


You may be thinking how in the world did February 14 become a holiday?

Valentine's Day will forever be a mystery as no one has the exact details... but there is evidence most of the stories point back to at least two martyred saints named Valentine.

Theories About the Origin of Valentine's Day

Story #1

According to a Roman legend, during the third century, a man named Valentinus was imprisoned for his Christian beliefs and sentenced to death by execution.

While jailed, Valentinus restored the sight of his jailer’s blind daughter.

The night before Valentinus was sentenced to execution, he wrote a note to the jailer's daughter saying, “From Your Valentine.”

Valentinus was executed on Feb. 14, 269 A.D.

Story #2

Legends say that Valentinus was killed for trying to help persecuted Christians escape Roman prisons.

Story #3

One story claims that Valentinus was a priest in third-century Rome.

Claudius II (Known as Claudius Gothicus, was a Roman emperor from 268 AD to 270 AD) thought single men made better soldiers, naturally the emperor outlawed young men from marrying.

Valentinus argued against this order and kept performing marriages, Claudius soon had him executed for going against his commands.

Story #4

In the fifth-century, legends have said that Romans honored Juno (The pagan goddess of love and marriage). On February 14, a man would pick a woman's name out from a box and later court her for marriage.

Story #5

Around the time frame of 498 A.D., Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as the official St. Valentine’s Day to honor the martyr Valentinus and to ultimately end the pagan celebration of Juno.

Fun Facts About Valentine's Day

  • About 80 percent of all Valentine's Day cards are bought by women

  • Hallmark began selling Valentine's Day cards in 1913

  • Hallmark estimates more than 110 million cards are exchanged for the holiday each year

  • Valentine’s Day is the second-largest holiday for giving greetings cards

  • On average, people spend about $136 for Valentine's Day

Information courtesy: and

About the Author:

Kiersten has been a Digital Content Creator with KSAT12 since 2017. She graduated from Texas State University with an electronic media degree and previously worked for the Spurs Sports & Entertainment.