It’s February, and love is in the air. Promises of chocolates, flowers, and sweet gestures linger in the air. Valentine’s day, has been a day for couples to spoil each other in the name of Saint Valentine. They woo each other with gifts and love. But who is Saint Valentine? And why, on this day, do we decide to celebrate in his name? The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine (or Valentinus), all of whom were martyred.
One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II had deduced that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families. So he outlawed marriage for young men in the military. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they may have been beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl (possibly his jailor’s daughter) who visited him during his confinement. Prior to his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed, “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still used today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is muddled, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly a romantic figure. By the middle ages, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.
It was believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance. Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400.
Today, February 14th is celebrated as a national day of love. Whether you’ve been with someone for a week, a month, a year, or a decade; Valentine’s Day is celebrated with presents and grand gestures of love. Happy Valentine’s day, or day of love; with love from Bv305.
Written By: Victor Fonseca