Why Do We Celebrate Valentine's Day?

Why Do We Celebrate Valentine's Day?

With Valentine's Day coming right around the corner, you're probably wondering, what should I get my significant other? Or why is chocolate so damn expensive? Or even, why do we have this stupid, overly commercialized holiday in the first place?

If you were mostly thinking about that last question, this article is for you.


St. Valentine was an interesting human… well, some of them were. The word "Valentinus," which is where Valentine came from, means "worthy, strong, or powerful," which means it was a pretty common name during this time. Because of this, there are about a dozen recorded historical figures with the name St. Valentine.

And, Valentine's Day actually celebrates a few of them. The holiday that takes place on February 14th is set to honor St. Valentine of Rome, who died around 270 A.D. (History). He is officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as the St. Valentine we are celebrating today, but his identity has been questioned by various Popes and scholars.

The real Valentine we celebrate was probably a Roman priest. Some scholars believe he did, in fact, live during 270 A.D., but others believe this happened as late as the 1400s. The story is still the same: an emperor named Claudias decided that Christianity sucked, and did not want any Christian weddings performed in Rome.

He also prohibited the marriage of young people, fearing that married soldiers would not fight as bravely as unmarried soldiers, due to fear of what would happen to their families. Valentine decided to marry people in secret because he believed that getting married was a right everyone should have (Valentine started using #loveislove before it was cool).

Once he was found, he was tortured and imprisoned. While there are many legends that have been told about his time in prison, the most famous is one involving one of his judges. This judge had a daughter who was blind; Valentine prayed for the girl to be healed and it worked so well that the judge sentencing him decided to convert to Christianity!

He was sentenced to a three-part execution that involved beating, stoning, and beheading. It is said that the last words he wrote were at the end of a letter to the young girl he cured of blindness; he signed the note "from your Valentine." (CBN)

The man that is officially recognized as St. Valentine by the Roman Catholic Church is a jack of all trades. In the afterlife, Saints are required to continue to serve living souls. St. Valentine's official duties are to look over the lives of lovers, as one would expect; he also looks over beekeepers, epileptics, and those who are traveling. It is unclear why or how these jobs became his responsibility, but I would like to thank him for watching out for bees (and their keepers).

So, why does St. Valentine get a day? What happened to all the other cool Saints who did equally nice things and got equally beheaded? Why can't we just spread love and enjoy chocolate on every day of the year?

Well, historians believe that Geoffrey Chaucer might be to blame. Around 1375, Chaucer wrote a poem linking "courtly love," to a celebration of St. Valentine. Before this poem, there was no association between these two things. The text of the poem states that February 14th is "the day birds (and humans) come together to find a mate"

"For this was sent on Seynt Valentine's day

Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate"

So, a random white guy might be the reason we have decided to commercialize love. That doesn't mean we have to fall for this BS. Instead, we could celebrate Valentine's Day every day. Why spoil your lover one day a year when you could buy them teddy bears and chocolate hearts when you miss them or think they could use a boost? Or, you could work on making yourself your valentine, and participate in new ways to love yourself every day.

Don't forget to check your local Walmart for some sweet deals on February 15th!


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12 Gifts To Give Your Girlfriend On Valentine's Day

All of these gift ideas will for sure win over your girlfriend's heart this year!

To all the last-minute gift givers of Valentine's Day:

Don't panic. While I know how stressful it can be to get the perfect gift for your significant other, there are so many gift ideas that people always forget as an option. The best part about Valentine's day is not the gifts you get, but rather the romantic time you get to spend with your loved one. So don't worry about how expensive the gift is, just worry about how much thought you put into it. If you are still stuck on a gift to buy for your girlfriend, here are 12 ideas to get the ball rolling for you:

1. Chocolate

Chocolate is every woman's best friend. It also can be your wallet's best friend for this Valentine's Day season. A box of chocolate can warm your girlfriend's heart for a low price.

Buy a box on Amazon.

2. Flowers

Flowers. Another common, but romantic gift for your girlfriend. Get creative with it. Throw rose pedals all over the bed, or hand her a giant bouquet all at once. Either way I am sure she will love it.

Buy them on Amazon.

3. Giant Teddy Bear

This is a gift that I always found so adorable. While it can be obnoxious to purchase and carry around, the look on your girlfriend's face when she sees it will make it all worth it. She can cuddle the bear when you're not around. ;)

Buy one on Amazon.

4. Wine

Again, another luxury that is a woman's best friend. You cannot go wrong with buying your girlfriend a bottle, or bottles, of wine. The only question you have to ask yourself when buying it is, red or white?

Buy a set of glasses to match on Amazon.

5. A Couple's Massage

Um, hello. Who wouldn't love this gift? Not only is it a gift for her, but it is one for you as well. This gift can also be surprisingly cheap. Many places offer amazing deals during the Valentine's Day season!

6. Dinner

There is absolutely nothing wrong with just taking your girlfriend to a romantic dinner on Valentine's Day. Dinner can be expensive enough as it is, the important thing to remember is to make memories that will last a lifetime during the meal.

7. A Movie

Again, nothing wrong with just going to a movie for the night. Sometimes a movie can set the level of romance you need for Valentine's Day.

Buy an AMC gift card on Amazon.

8. A Necklace

I know what you're thinking, too expensive! Don't throw away the necklace idea just yet. There are so many stores that sell such elegant necklaces, and they are decently priced as well. Check out stores like Alex and Ani, or Pandora for great deals, or just order from Amazon!

Buy one on Amazon.

9. A Ring

While this gift may only apply to a select few, imagine how memorable this day would be for your girlfriend. Do not think it is too cliche to propose to your girlfriend on Valentine's Day. Who cares how many other people do it, think about the joy it will bring her.

Buy a diamond ring on Amazon.

10. Clothes

Plan and buy your girlfriend's outfit for the night! It saves her time figuring out what to wear, and you just bought her clothes that she will absolutely adore!

Buy a sweater she will love on Amazon.

11. A One Night Stay at a Hotel

I don't think I have to say anything about this gift. You all know how romantic this is.

Buy a Hotels.com gift card on Amazon.

12. Personalized Picture Frame

A gift that is beyond thoughtful. Taking all of your pictures of memories from before and putting them together for your girlfriend is a gift that will for sure have her in tears.

Buy one on Amazon.

Please note that all items are in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

Cover Image Credit: Chip Party Ideas

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5 Valentine's Day Gifts You Haven't Thought Of

Five more ideas to throw around that will hopefully help you find a great gift for someone you love.


Don't get me wrong, I love pictures and I love hanging them in my room, putting them on my desk but sometimes it gets old. Sometimes you want something other than the cliche flowers and chocolates. Maybe this year you want something different than a piece of jewelry. There are so many great gift options and if you're like me, you love to find the perfect one for your loved ones. So here are some ideas maybe you haven't thought of yet that your boyfriend or girlfriend or friend would love on February 14th.

If these still aren't the gift ideas you're looking for, don't freak out. You will find something amazing to make or buy. I love gift buying for any occasion but sometimes when I hit a dead end I stress out because I want it to be perfect. I have to remind myself that it's not the stuff that matters and it doesn't always have to be perfect, just meaningful. Take it from me and try not to stress too much over a gift but focus your energy on celebrating with your loved one.

1. Do something together

Instead of spending money on another necklace or more stuff spend it on memory. Buy tickets to a sports game or an amusement park and spend the day/night together having fun. Maybe there is a historic hotel with neat architecture or an amazing breakfast near you could spend the night at. You could even save your money for a trip over summer that you both have been trying to plan but never do.

2. Bake their favorite dessert

Even if it doesn't turn out perfectly, I'm sure they will appreciate the effort you put in. If they don't have a favorite or it's too complicated there are so many recipes out there you can find something unique and perfect for your significant other. For example, if you know they love strawberries instead of just making strawberry shortcake because that's the obvious dessert, do some research and I'm sure there are more uncommon, delicious strawberry desserts a little more personal.

3. Give them a Jar of Kisses for when you're not around

Yes, this is an old one but I think it's cute and you can personalize it. You can get a cute jar or container of any kind and decorate the outside with paint or permanent markers. Write a sweet message on the lid so they smile every time they open it. If you want to customize it even more, you can buy stickers to put on the bottom of the Hershey Kisses with either a message or a picture.

4. Make a bouquet out of something other than flowers

Make love letters and candy and fun little things you usually wouldn't buy like funny socks, smelly soap, a keychain or a t shirt from their favorite restaurant rolled up. You can be really creative with this one and make it exactly how you want. If you want it to look like flowers just cut tissue paper, crumple it on top of each "stem" (item), and tape it. It might not look exactly like a bouquet of roses but it will be more interesting for sure.

5. Find some cute pajamas

I feel like this is one I always wish I had more of. There are so many different styles, patterns, and materials that there so many options. PJ pants are something that doesn't seem romantic but we all like our movie nights in with snuggles too. My favorite brand is PJ Salvage because I love all of their prints. You can also search online at any department store for some great steals.

If these still aren't the gift ideas you're looking for, don't freak out. You will find something amazing to make or buy. I love gift buying for any occasion but sometimes when I hit a dead end I stress out because I want it to be perfect. I have to remind myself that it's not the stuff that matters and it doesn't always have to be perfect, just meaningful. Take it from me and try not to stress too much over a gift but focus your energy on celebrating with your loved one.

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