It’s renowned for being the ‘most romantic day of the year’.
And many of us use it as an opportunity to show affection for our loved ones with cards, flowers or chocolates.
But why exactly do we celebrate Valentine’s Day and why does it fall on February 14?
Well we’ve trawled through the history books to find out the real reasons so you don’t have to – and the background casts a very different light on the holiday.
Valentine’s Day is an old tradition thought to have originated from a Roman Festival known as Lupercalia, according to History.com.
It was held on February 15 as a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture.
During the celebrations boys would draw names of girls from a box and the pair would be partners during the festival.
These matches often led to marriage.
The festival survived the initial rise of Christianity but was outlawed at the end of the 5th century when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St Valentine’s Day.
Chaucer, as in The Canterbury Tales writer, may have actually been behind Valentine’s Day. The medieval English poet took quite a few liberties with history.
He’d drop his poetic characters into real-life historical events leaving readers wondering if that’s what really happened.
There is no actual record of Valentine’s Day before Chaucer’s poem in 1375.
It’s in Parliament of Foules that he links the tradition of courtly love to the St Valentine’s feast day – the tradition didn’t exist until after his poem.
The poem refers to February 14 as the day of birds coming together to find a mate. “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate,” he wrote and maybe invented Valentine’s Day as we now know it.