The History of Valentine’s Day: From St. Valentine to Chocolate Hearts

In the book ‘Evelina,’ Frances Burney writes, “You are the friend to whom my soul is attached as to its better half. You are dearer to me than language has the power of telling.”

It’s a beautiful thing. See, love is devotion. Love is a magical, mystical, almost indescribable thing. You feel it in your bones, hear it in the wind, and your heart knows that it’s true.

And Valentine’s Day commemorates this feeling. Maybe not always in the most romantic way (think tchotchke gifts), but the yore and meaning behind Valentine’s Day are actually quite beautiful.

From St. Valentine’s to today, the history of this Hallmark holiday is rooted in chivalry and romance. Here’s a brief history of how it all started.

Though the narrative has changed in many ways, love remains the same and is still celebrated across many cultures today.

While nobody is quite sure how Valentine’s Day started, there are many theories. For instance, many believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of St. Valentine’s death. According to history, on this Day in 270 A.D, St. Valentine died for his beliefs and performed marriages despite a ban on them by Emperor Claudius II.

However, other theories suggest that Valentine’s Day was celebrated in the Roman Empire during a festival called Lupercalia. It’s thought that this event began as a way to ward off evil spirits and bring health and fertility.

During this festival, boys would draw the names of girls from a box and be paired for the duration of the celebration. In the past, some believed that this is how the tradition of sending cards originated.

As history progressed, so did the Day of love. By the 1800s, it had become a popular holiday in France and England and was celebrated with elaborate dinners and dances. Moreover, Americans first began exchanging cards in the 1840s when Esther A. Howland began to make and sell cards with intricate decorations such as lace, ribbons, and colored paper. It was the invention of the printing press that made it possible for card companies to begin mass-producing cards.

Valentine’s Day has since become a holiday dedicated to sending cards, teddy bears, and chocolates. Many card companies have found a way to capitalize on their unused stock by marketing it as Valentine’s Day cards, and chocolatiers worldwide have created unique confections for the special Day. This turned Valentine’s Day from a romantic holiday for chivalry to a tchotchke day for the masses.

Regardless, no matter how you look at it, Valentine’s Day is what we make of it. Whether that’s adorning the one you love with something almost as beautiful as they are, presenting them with symbols to remember, or promises to come, it’s all in the spirit of celebrating your love.

For us at Smith’s Jewelers in Noblesville, IN, it means finding time to get away from the world and spend time with your favorite person. It means embracing the little things and making them special. And, of course, it means celebrating a day of passion with beautiful, meaningful gifts.

Declare your love with a stunning piece of jewelry that your special someone will treasure for years to come. At Smith’s, we offer jewelry that serves as symbols of your commitment and devotion: From modern diamond designs to classic watches, Smith’s Jewelers is the perfect guide for Valentine’s Day gifts from the heart.

Shop early, and let us help you make this Valentine’s Day a memorable one. Visit Smith’s Jewelers and let us show you how to sparkle with love!