Valentine’s Day 2024: History & How to Celebrate

Why should you celebrate Valentine’s Day?
on February 06, 2024
Read time: 10 mins

Just like that, Valentine’s Day 2024 is here!

This isn't just any ordinary day, it's the Super Bowl for lovebirds, the Olympics for florists, and the World Cup for chocolate connoisseurs.

On February 14th, even Cupid decides to take a step back, swapping his bow and arrows for a ringside seat to the spectacle of human affection. 

It's Valentine's Day, a 24-hour tribute to love in all its forms, from the grandest gestures of adoration to the most humble acts of kindness. It's a day that serves as a reminder that love isn't just about the grand declarations seen in movies, it's also in the quiet moments, the last-minute gifts, and the imperfect attempts to say "I love you" in a million different ways. 

So, where did all these love-dovey celebrations come from, and how do we celebrate Valentine’s Day in a way that’s authentic to modern relationships? At Paired, we’ve got the answers waiting for you right here… 

When is Valentine’s Day 2024?

Unlike Easter or Mother’s Day, St. Valentine’s Day is fixed in our calendar for February 14th every year (so there’s no excuse to miss it!) This year, Valentine’s Day falls on Wednesday, February 14th — it’s right around the corner!!

While it’s not a public holiday, a lot of people like to go all out for Valentine’s Day celebrations, and who can blame them? It’s easy to get swept up in the tirade of hearts, roses, and the sweet scent of romantic love that hangs in the air. 

As soon as the long days of January are over, the countdown to Saint Valentine’s Day begins — with Cupid summoning all the lovebirds to celebrate his feast day! So if you didn’t already have it marked in your calendar, Wednesday, February 14 is a day you don’t want to miss out on this year. 

What’s the history behind Valentine’s Day? 

Before you plunge into the celebrations, it’s important to ask, where did all of this come from? 

The origins of Valentine’s Day go far back in history, evolving from the festivals of the Roman Empire, and Christian saints, to the ‘Hallmark Holiday’ that it’s become today. 

Dating back to the Roman empire, Valentine’s Day has roots in the pagan festival of Lupercalia, celebrated from February 13th to 15th. This admittedly brutal festival centered around fertility and actually included a matchmaking lottery that helped you find your Valentine (or long-term partner!) 

As Christianity spread through Europe, many pagan holidays were Christianized, and Lupercalia was no exception. It’s believed that in the 5th century, Pope Gelasius I replaced Lupercalia with St. Valentine's Day to honor Saint Valentine. 

There are many stories and tales about who Valentine or Valentinus was, with one common narrative being that he secretly performed marriages in direct defiance of Emperor Claudius II. Even though this story ended abruptly, when he was sentenced to death, many believe that this is where the feast of Saint Valentine was born. 

As the years rolled on into the Middle Ages, the date of Valentine’s continued to mature and evolve to become more centered around the day of love that we know today. By the 19th century, the exchange of handwritten notes and Valentine’s Day cards started to become more popular — eventually expanding to America where the exchange of red roses, modern greeting cards, and chocolates became commonplace! 

Why is Valentine’s Day celebrated? 

While the history of Valentine’s Day traces the evolution of the celebration of romantic love, where does that stand now? And why do we celebrate it today? 

There might be a lot of pressure around the perfect Valentine’s Day date, but our recent survey revealed an interesting shift in modern relationships and the day of love. Of the 2,000 people surveyed, 83% choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but perhaps not for the reasons that you might think. 

There are a lot of negative connotations roaming around about Valentine’s Day, with 32% admitting that they’re simply caving to the pressures of social media, retailers, and society overall.

However, there is a much larger love story lurking just beneath the surface, with some very romantic reasons behind why people celebrate. The biggest reason for celebrations is quality time, with 37% of people surveyed seeing Valentine’s as the perfect opportunity to spend time with their loved ones. 

Even though the naysayers might deny it, there are a lot of romantics still among us, with 23% of people seeing it as an opportunity to celebrate their relationship — in whatever way they choose! 

In fact, even the people who don’t celebrate, 33% only refuse to do so because they don’t need any excuse to be romantic! (Which still sounds pretty romantic to us…) 

What to do on Valentine’s Day? 

At its core, Valentine’s Day is about celebrating your loved ones, and showcasing your affection and admiration for them! It might seem a little cheesy, but it’s the one day of the year where no one will judge you for going all out…

While Valentine’s Day dates have become associated with fancy dates and big spenders, it doesn’t have to be about that with 25% of people surveyed prefer to stay in! Whether you want to enjoy an at-home date night, play some Valentine’s Day games or even have a Valentine-themed movie night  — it’s all about tailoring the day to your partner’s love language! 

What to say on Valentine’s Day? 

With so much love in the air, you’d think that it would be easy to pluck the right words of affection to say to your partner right from the sky. If only it was that easy!

It can be helpful to dive into some Valentine’s Day quotes to get you started, but the key thing is… don’t be afraid to go the extra mile. That’s what this holiday is all about!

Or, if words are escaping you, try to say them with the perfect Valentine’s Day gift (even if it’s a bit last-minute!) We hear a Paired subscription also works a treat… 

Whether through grand gestures or simple, sincere words, what truly matters is the spirit in which we celebrate. As we navigate the pressures and pleasures of Valentine's Day, let's remember that at the heart of this celebration is the timeless act of showing appreciation to those we care about. 

So, as Cupid prepares his arrows and stores stock their shelves, we hope everyone enjoys their Valentine’s Day celebrations… and carries the practice of love into every day of their relationship with Paired. 

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