The History of Valentine’s Day

The History of Valentine’s Day

February has for many many years now been associated with romance and love as it is the month associated with St. Valentine’s Day. But-where exactly did this day come from and who was St. Valentines?

It is almost impossible to locate the history of Valentine’s Day from archives around the world as so little is known of the beginnings of Valentine’s Day, but there are legends that have been passed on about the source of this romantic date.

The origin of Valentine’s Day stretches as far back as 270AD as a rift between a mighty ruler and a priest. …..

……….According to the Catholic encyclopaedia there are three such Saints that went by the name of Valentine. One was a priest in Rome, one was a bishop in Terni and there was another from Africa and that is all that is known about the third of the three Valentines.

It is the second of the Valentines, the Bishop living in Terni which I find to be the source of Saint Valentine’s Day, or at least as the legend tells. This story has two different tales of Saint Valentine but both agree that he was a Bishop who held secret marriage ceremonies for soldiers during the Roman Catholic reign. Marriages’ were forbidden by the ruler Claudius the second, who prohibited marriages for young soldiers. He executed soldiers if it was discovered they were married. He believed married men were more attached to their families and thus not good soldiers and thus forbid soldiers to get married when he became emperor.

Not surprisingly, Romans were not warm-hearted by this new ruling. However, they dared not speak against this viscous ruler. The compassionate bishop also felt that this was an injustice and decided to join couples in harmonious matrimony in secrecy after he met with couples who wanted to get married despite this ruling. However, it was not long before Claudius heard of this bishop and arrested him, and soon after ordered the execution of Valentine.

While Valentine was in jail awaiting his execution he became friendly with the Jailors daughter . The Jailors daughter was deeply upset at her friends’ imminent death. Legend tells of Valentine writing a letter to the jailors daughter shortly before his execution and signed it “FROM YOUR VALENTINE,” which is a phrase still used today. Valentine is said to have been executed on 14th February 270AD.

Thus February 14th became a day for lovers and Valentine became a patron Saint. It started by young romans offering handwritten greetings of affection to one another and with the coming of Christianity, the day came to be known as St. Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s day is now widely celebrated and according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion Valentines cards are sent each year, making it the second largest card sending holiday of the year (after Christmas). The first commercial Valentine’s Day card was produced in the USA in the 1840’s by Esther A. Howland. Howland since has become to be known as the mother of Valentine’s Day.

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