In researching the history of Valentine’s Day, you would first think it would be a story of love, romance, but the origins of the day are a bit darker.

No one can really trace the origins of the holiday, but the closest place is that its birth was in Ancient Rome.

The Romans observed the feast of Lupercalia, between February 13 and 15.
The celebration culminated with a lottery where young men would pick the name of women from a jar in a matchmaking activity. The couple would then enjoy the festival or continue the romance past the festivities.

The ancient Romans may also be the reason for the name of Valentine’s day. Emperor Claudius II executed two men with the name of Valentine on February 14 in the 3rd century. Their martyrdom was remembered and celebrated by the Catholic Church with St .Valentine’s Day.

Over the years, the bitterness of the origins of Valentine’s became a bit sweeter when Shakespeare included it in his work and thus it gained popularity in Europe. The result: Handmade paper cards became a token of affection in the middle ages.

The tradition soon spread to the New World. In 1913 Hallmark cards of Kansas City, MO began producing a huge amount of Valentine’s cards. Valentine’s Day Business sales are expected to top $18.6 billion this year, according to the market research firm IBIS.

Is Valentine’s Day a Hallmark Holiday? Is it too commercialized for you or does it warm your heart? Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook page.

Inspired by an article on named the dark origins of Valentine’s Day.