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CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at Valentine’s Day, celebrated every Feb. 14.



There have been several different theories about the origins of Valentine’s Day.

The ancient Romans held the festival of Lupercalia on Feb. 15 to protect themselves from wolves. Men struck people with strips of animal hide; women believed that this made them more fertile.

The early Christian church had at least two saints named Valentine.

One story said that Emperor Claudius II forbade young men to marry because he believed unmarried men made better soldiers. A priest named Valentine secretly married young couples.

Another said that Valentine was an early Christian who was imprisoned for refusing to worship the Roman gods. His friends tossed notes to him through his cell window.

Many stories say that Valentine was executed on Feb. 14 about 269 AD.



Cupid is a well-known symbol of Valentine’s Day. He is armed with a bow and arrows in order to pierce people’s hearts.

In Roman mythology, Cupid is the son of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty.

In ancient Greece, Cupid was known as Eros, the young son of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty.



  • 496 AD – Pope Gelasius I named Feb. 14 as St. Valentine’s Day.
  • 1847 – Esther Howland of Worchester, Massachusetts, became one of the first U.S. manufacturers of valentines.
  • 1860s – Richard Cadbury began packaging his company’s chocolate confections in heart-shaped boxes.
  • 2023 – The National Retail Federation estimated that U.S. consumers will spend $25.9 billion for the holiday.


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Mollie Finch Belt is the Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of The Dallas Examiner. She attended elementary school in Tuskegee, Ala.; Cambridge, Mass.; and Dallas, Texas. In 1961, she graduated from...

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