Girls would place their names in a box, from which boys would randomly draw to discover their sexual partner. These partners exchanged presents as a sign of love, and often married.
To give this pagan festival Christian meaning, Pope Gelasius officially changed the February 15 Lupercalia festival to the February 14 St. Valentine's Day In 496. Pope Gelasius made small changes in the lottery of the pagan festival for young women. The names of saints replaced the names of young women. Men and women were permitted to draw from the box. The idea of this ritual was to shape their life after the saint they had selected for the rest of the year. However, it was once again girls’ names that ended up in the box by the 16th century.
Due to severe troubles that accompanied such a lottery, the French government banned the procedure in 1776. In Italy, Germany, Austria, and Hungry the ritual also disappeared over the years. In England, it had been banned earlier when the Puritans were influential during the 17th century.
The history of Valentine's Day is a powerful lesson for Muslims too. St. Valentine became a Saint who was trying to resist free sex. Although there was an attempt to Christianize the celebration, St. Valentine's day has gone back to its roots today. No one knows that the Church even tried to ban the St. Valentine's Day. Instead, most people think of romance, cupid and his arrow, which are reminders of pagan Rome. Eventually, the custom of sending anonymous cards or messages became the way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
First increased interest about Valentine's day has been in the United States in the early 1800s during the Civil war and then in Canada, in the mid-19th century. Esther A. Howland produced one of the first commercial American Valentine's Day cards in the 1840s. The valentine industry has been blooming ever since.
Early versions of Valentine cards created of silk and lace and ornamented with flowers, ribbons, and images of cupids or birds appeared in England in the 1880s.