How did Valentine’s Day go from “whipping” people to giving them chocolates?


Audrey Mooney

Valentine’s Day has changed a lot science the time of St. Valentine. People love to receive flowers as a present.

Valentine’s Day is all about flowers, cupid, and chocolate, right?  But, do you know why you’re giving these things on Feb. 14 to your loved ones?  

Valentine’s Day has both Christian and Roman traditions in it.  The Romans had some interesting things to do on Valentine’s Day.  They celebrated the feast of Lupercalia on Feb. 15.  They would kill a dog and goat, then take the hide and “whip” the women of the village.  The strips of hiding were called ‘Februa’.  Apparently, the women lined up for that so they could have good luck with having children.  

Lupercalia means “Feast of Lupercus.” Lupercus was a Roman god, and the Romans believed that he would protect them from the wolves.  Wolves would kill the farmers’ sheep and goats, so on the day of Lupercalia, they had a feast to honor him.

Then, Christianity came to Rome.  Hundreds of years later, the Romans didn’t believe in a god called Lupercus anymore, but they didn’t want to give up their feasting. Instead of honoring Lupercus, they honored a man of the church, St. Valentine, who lived and died in Rome very long ago. 

Feb. 14 became known as St. Valentine’s Day.  St. Valentine’s Day celebrations soon spread to France and England. Their celebrations were similar to what we have now.  Dancing, feasts, and games

took place on this day.  A boy drew a girl’s name out of a hat to become his ‘sweetheart’.  In England, it was believed that birds choose their mates on Feb. 14.  Letters people wrote to each other were called valentines.  Children dressed up as adults and would sing songs like this,

“Good morning to you, valentine.

Curl your locks as I do mine-

Two before and three behind.

Good morning to you, valentine.”

Then the English came to America and brought this joyful holiday with them.

Now, people like to receive flowers and chocolate for Valentine’s Day, but did you know that flowers have a meaning?

The Victorian English thought that flowers had meanings. Peony means ‘I am bashful’, the gardenia means ‘Let’s keep a secret’.  Honeysuckle means ‘We are bound by love’, a red rose means ‘I love you’ and a pink rose means ‘We are happy friends’, but not all flowers mean happy things.  For instance, marigold means ‘You have been cruel’, and carnation means ‘I do not agree.’  These are just some of the flower meanings, there are many more, but Valentine’s Day is not about flowers or candy, it’s about how much you appreciate your loved ones.  

Happy St. Valentine’s Day!