Valentine’s Day has been a day to celebrate love for centuries. Every year in February, beautiful fresh flowers, candy, and gifts are exchanged as a part of celebrating Saint Valentine’s Day. Have you every wondered why we celebrate this holiday as well as who St. Valentine might be? The answer to this question is actually shrouded in mystery. What we do know is that February has long been considered a month of romance.
One legend story is that Valentine was a priest who served in Rome during the third century. Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families. Therefore, he outlawed marriage for any young man who might be a potential soldier. Valentine felt this law to be a great injustice and, therefore, performed marriages for young lovers in secret. Once discovered, Claudius ordered that Valentine be put to death.
According to another story, legend indicates that while in prison, Valentine fell in love with a young woman, perhaps his jailor’s daughter, who visited him during his confinement. Before he was put to death, Valentine wrote a letter to this young lady, which he signed ‘From your Valentine’.
Although the actual truth behind the Valentine legends may never be known, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a loving, heroic and sympathetic soul. It’s no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.
By the 17th century Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated. It was common for friends and lovers in all social classes to exchange tokens of affection and/or handwritten notes. In modern time, Valentine’s Day is still a fun day to celebrate all aspects of love and friendship.