Getting to the Heart of Valentine's Day

Albert B. Lowenfels, MD


February 11, 2019

The Origins of Valentine's Day

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Roman holiday closely associated with modern Valentine's Day is Lupercalia, celebrated during the middle of February.[2] Lupercalia was designed as a fertility festival—more of an orgy than a romantic holiday. The aim of the celebration was to enhance procreation, an important goal during an era when infant mortality was high. Subsequently, in 496, Pope Gelasius I replaced the pagan fertility holiday of Lupercalia with the Christian holiday of St Valentine's Day. Today, Valentine's Day is no longer listed as part of the Catholic liturgical calendar.


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