February has long been known as the month of romance, and throughout our country loved ones often exchange cards, gifts, candy and flowers as a means of expressing their love.
February 14th however, when we celebrate the holiday known as Valentine’s Day, is when most of these gifts and expressions of our love are exchanged. But how did this mysterious tradition begin?
The holiday is both a Christian and ancient Roman tradition that is indeed very mysterious. The original Valentine’s day can be traced back to the Catholic Church which began a feast day, said to be in honor of its patron saint named Valentinus or Valentine.
But how St. Valentine became associated with this lovers holiday has long been a matter of debate, and there are many legendary stories explaining the connection.
One of the most popular stories takes place during the third century in Rome. The ruling Emperor Claudius II had decided single men made better soldiers, and outlawed marriage so he could build a better crop of soldiers.
A young priest by the name of Valentine defied the decree, and continued to marry young lovers in secret, and when Claudius discovered this he ordered that Valentine be put to death.
Legend does credit Valentine with actually sending the first valentine. The story claims he had fallen in love with a young women, who had been visiting him while he was in prison. It is alleged that he sent her a letter which he signed “From Your Valentine”.
Another story suggests that while attempting to help Christians escape from the deplorable Roman prisons, where they were often tortured and beaten, he was killed.
We will never know the full truth about the Valentine legends, although there is no doubt about his heroic and romantic appeal.
Valentine was definitely one of the most popular saints in England and France during the middle ages.
It wasn’t until the 19th century when British settlers arrived that Valentine’s Day was was introduced to North America. Today, according to (Hallmark Research) 192 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually.
This is in addition to the millions of flowers, boxes of candy and assorted gifts exchanged by lovers on this day. The day has come to be associated with the greeting “Happy Valentine’s Day”
Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14th every year. It gives you the opportunity to show a friend or lover, how much you care, by giving them a gift of love and sharing this lovely tradition with them.