What is Valentine's Day to you?
A special day with your sweetheart? An excuse to wear red and pink? A chance to eat chocolate all day? A day to exchange gifts with the special people in your life? Just another Hallmark-Holiday?
For me personally it's a day to do something special for my sweetheart. I do also feel that it is a bit too commercialized, and another Hallmark-Holiday
used to guilt people (more often men) into parting with their hard-earned money. I typically get flowers for my wife, but usually for-go roses. I always try to do something special though. This year my wife told me she wanted something that cost me less than a dollar (I might have spent a little more than that on ingredients and parts; but there is something special about making
something for your sweetheart).
Back to the topic at hand... With the commercialization of the holiday some people aren't even aware that it is actually "Saint Valentine's Day" being named after one (or possibly several) Christian martyrs
of ancient Rome. It was first commercialized in 1847 in Great Britain by Esther Howland who crafted hand-made cards, and turned it into a very lucrative business. But long before that the Catholic church took the holiday from a pagan celebration.
The Roman celebration was originally held during the ides of February (the 15th), when the goddess Juno Februata inflicted her 'love fever' on the young and unwary. It was a fertility festival known as Lupercalia, and involved sexual excess and the occasional orgy. Eligible young women wrote 'love notes' and placed them in container. Eligible young men would then draw a note from the container, and then socialize with the young women in an attempt to guess whose note they had drawn. A bunch of sexed-up young adults writing, reading, and discussing erotic notes (probably while drinking); you can see how this would naturally lead to sex.
For years the early Catholic church tried to stop the celebration. The funny thing though was that they did not look down on the sexuality of it, but instead condemned the people for celebrating pagan gods. Finally in in 496 C.E. the name and date were changed by Pope Gelasius. The goddess Juno Februata and the god Cupid were combined and recast as a cherub, and the church spent the next decade-or-so eliminating sex from the festival. But to this day some of the original traditions are still carried on. From adults down to grade-school kids, 'love notes' are exchanged, and often still dropped into a container anonymously. And lovers still 'reward' each-other with sex (I recall a comedian once saying Valentine's and his birthday were the only days he could count on getting laid).
So no matter which way you celebrate it, Happy V-Day
Sources: my brain (from all the stuff I've read over the years), but also here, here, here, here, and here.