The origin of Valentine’s Day is extremely difficult to pinpoint because there are many different sources that accredit themselves. Say for example, Ancient Rome. On February 13th to February 15th the Romans celebrated an ancient fertility festival called Lupercalia. Activities included rounding women up and being whipped and beaten by drunken naked Roman men. Then the women who withstood this savage display would pair up with the most virile men. Not quite the images that come to mind when you think of Valentine’s Day in today’s modern world. But it is the worldwide belief that the true origins of this holiday stem from when a Roman Emperor murdered two men named Valentine on February 14th 496 AD.

Till this day there seems to be a lot of discrepancy about the man, the myth and the legend “St. Valentine.” But it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that the day finally began to be associated with the notion of romantic love. In 1381, Chaucer composed a poem in honor of the engagement between England’s Richard II and Anne of Bohemia and noted that the two of them met during St. Valentine’s feast which is the same as the mating season for birds.

“For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,
When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate.”
Parliament of Fowls by Chaucer

The romantic sentiment of Valentine’s day continued. And beginning in the 18th century, it began customary to give hand made gifts to people on Valentine’s day as a token of your affection. Then, in the early 20th century, the day began to be a big boon for business, with Valentine’s Day cards finally being commercialized.

In today’s modern world there are two different views on the importance of Valentine’s Day. Some people consider is nothing more than a “Hallmark holiday” or a day for people to spend money to help boost the economy whereas other still truly believe in the idea of romance and treat their significant to a day filled with love and surprises.

Chocolates or bright red roses are a traditional approach, but take heed, as breaking tradition and starting your own can go a long way to fostering love and affection. Rather than taking your love out for a romantic dinner, attempt to cook one. Trying using Crockpots or other simple kitchen appliances to make a delicious meal. Even if it doesn’t come out gourmet, the thought and effort will be more impressive. Valentine’s Day is not just for couples. If you’re single, don’t forget to treat yourself right, or take some time away with friends. It’s a great week for a little vacation.