Valentine’s Day – The Origin and The Legend

Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is filled with heart-shaped chocolates, flowers, and gifts, as loved ones share their appreciation for each other. February 14th has long be set aside as a day in recognition of Saint Valentine, the Roman saint of love. However, very little is truly known about the third century Roman priest.

Legend: Valentine Put to Death After Defying Emplorer Claudius II’s Marriage Ruling

While there is no definitive evidence, one legend that has stood the test of time comes from third-century Rome. Emperor Claudius II was the ruler of Rome at the time, when he decided that single men are better suited for military positions than married men with families. For this reason, the emperor illegalized marriage for young men. Despite the law, a priest named Valentine decided to disobey the “unjust” law and continue to wed young couples. When the Roman government discovered Valentine’s disobedience, he was sentenced to death.

Throughout the Middle Ages, Valentine would later go on to be one of most popular saints throughout England and France.

Lupercalia: The Precursor to Valentine’s Day

Prior to the rise of Christianity, Lupercalia was the pagan holiday for fertility, which was celebrated in February. People would celebrate Lupercalia to honor the god, Faunus, who is the Roman god of agriculture. While the pagan holiday was able survive the rise of Christianity in the beginning, it soon met its demise in the fifth century.

Pope Gelasius declared February 14th as St. Valentine’s Day by the end of the fifth century. However, Valentine’s Day was not really associated with love until around the 1400s, when early love poems were discovered. These poems and letters were later found to be the source of the Valentine greeting cards idea.

1900: Printed Valentine Cards Come Into Existence

By the time the 18th century, loved ones and friends began to exchange small gifts and letters to celebrate the Valentine’s Day holiday. In 1900, printed Valentine’s Day cards were first offered for purchase, as the massive improvements in industrial equipment made efficient printing possible. Today, the Greeting Card Association estimates nearly 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year. This makes Valentine’s Day the second largest card holiday of the year, behind Christmas.

Happy Valentine’s Day from! Wishing everyone a safe and happy day with their loved ones!

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