It’s Valentine’s day! Have you ever wondered why this day is considered the most ‘romantic day of the year?’ The history of Valentine’s day is a little mysterious, and quite far removed from what the day means in modern times.
I’m sure most of you have heard of Saint Valentine, the patron saint of Valentine’s day. But who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with February 14th?
Well, there are several legends surrounding this saint and it’s impossible to know which of them, if any, are actually based in truth. One story states that Valentine was a priest in third century Rome. At this time Emperor Claudius 11 outlawed marriage for young men because he thought single men made better soldiers! The priest Valentine declared this law unfair and continued to marry young couples in secret. When his actions were discovered, the emperor ordered that Valentine should be killed. Romantic? You decide!
Another story says Valentine was instead killed for helping Christians escape from the terrible Roman prisons. During his time in the prison, Valentine supposedly fell in love with a young woman who visited him often and he sent the very first ‘Valentine’ greeting to her. Legend says he wrote her a letter to express his love and signed it ‘From your Valentine’, an expression that we still use today.