Valentine’s Day: Where the hearts came from

Emma Gonzalez, Staff Writer

Valentine’s day (or St Valentine’s Day) is the day of the year when couples rejoice together, and singles cry together. But where did Valentine’s day come from? And why do we give valentines to our romantic partners?

While the origins and reasons aren’t very clear, a popular theory is that in the third century AD, Emperor Claudius II had banned marriage in Rome because he believed that married soldiers made bad soldiers. This was wrong in a priest named St. Valentine’s eyes. He illegally married couples in secret. Once Claudius found out, Valentine was jailed and later hanged. While Valentine was in jail, he had fallen in love with a lady that just so happened to be the jailers’ daughter. He wrote a letter to her “from your Valentine” the day he was hanged on February 14. The Romans started celebrating a spring festival called Lupercalia on February 15, but was moved to February 14 when Christianity was introduced.

Over the years, Valentines day got more romantic as new forms of romance were introduced. It could also have come with the Roman belief that birds select their partners on February 14. People have been making Valentine’s card ever since the 16th century, and mass production of cards started in the 1800s. Valentine’s cards originated in England, but an American student , Esther Howland, one day wanted to make cards “as pretty as the British ones,” started a company, and made a lot of money.

As for hearts, people probably didn’t want to draw all the valves and chambers, so they probably simplified the complex organ into the shape that we know and love today. It isn’t really known why we simplified the heart into this particular shape, but it could’ve been inspired from a plant once found in Cyrene, Libya. This plant was used to make stuff, and was associated with sexual activity and female anatomy. It is in the simple shape of the heart and was later associated with the general concept of love.

Works Cited
Nowak, Claire. “15 Facts You Never Knew About Valentine’s Day.” Reader’s Digest,

“What Is Valentine’s Day and How Did It Start? – CBBC Newsround.” BBC News, BBC, 13 Feb. 2019, Valentine’s Day.