Campus Life by the numbers

Alternative Valentine’s Day origin stories

How did this day of romance and love start?

The history of Valentine’s Day is pretty vague. Most people think the holiday resulted from a combination of Lupercalia (a fancy word for “Romans getting drunk and performing some Violent Rituals”), Christians (who wanted to get in on the party, but in a modified, God-appeasing way), and guys named Valentine who died.

But those stories are all a bit run-of-the-mill, so I’ve taken the liberty of collecting some more believable ideas for how we got our lovely mid-February holiday:

1. Palentine’s Day (Feb. 13) came first. Then, in retaliation, everybody whose only pal was their significant other came together to form Valentine’s Day, to make themselves feel better about not being single.

2. Feb. 14 is the anniversary of the design of the heart stylization (❤), which is actually mistakenly interpreted. The person who drew it meant it to be an upside-down turban, which was what he really found inside the chest of his most recent surgery patient.

3. Valentine was the last name of a guy who won a cereal contest back when the Romans were making the calendar. He thought having a romantic holiday named after him would increase his marriage prospects, but unfortunately all that happened was that his coworkers kept thinking Valentine’s Day was his birthday. That’s why, even now, Valentine’s is a day of good intentions, gift-giving, and extreme misunderstanding.

4. The generic stories are true, only it was St. Valentime, not St. Valentine. The third graders were right.

5. Val and Tine (Val ’n Tine) were actually two different people, and this day was a celebration of their great bond. It wasn’t long before everyone started celebrating their own relationships on the same day.