Where did “Valentine’s Day” come from?

While many people celebrate this holiday, do you know its origin?

February 14, 2023

How did February 14 become the day that we express love and romance?

This day of chocolates, hearts, and flowers is in recognition of Saint Valentine, a Roman Catholic saint whose feast day is February 14. His life story, however, is brief and partially unaccounted for, but there is a sufficient amount of information that expresses how is life went.

Image from petaluma360.com

There are a few St. Valentine’s that are known to have existed and a few variations of his story, but due to a lack of “reliable” and exact information about them, it is frequently expressed that all of them are recognized on this feast day.

The most well-recognized account of St. Valentine shows that he was a Roman priest under the reign of Emperor Claudius II, who persecuted those who practiced Christianity and denied men the ability to pursue marriage. It was the emperors firm belief that single men were better soldiers, and since he needed to build a larger and stronger army, his only logical option was to ban marriage. But St. Valentine had other ideas.

Although he knew the fatal consequences of his actions, Valentine married betrothed couples in secret. This action not only promoted Christianity, but also freed men from being drafted into the army. He was sentenced to death after being caught and refusing to deny his faith to the emperor.

While awaiting his execution in prison, he befriended the jailer, a man whose daughter suffered from blindness. St. Valentine cured her lack of sight, some stories saying that it was a way to prove his faith in Jesus. Before his death, it is said that he wrote a letter to her, signing it “from your Valentine.”

Since then, St. Valentine is recognized as the patron saint of “bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, and young people.”

It wasn’t until the Middle Ages in England and France that Valentine’s Day turned into the typical celebratory customs that we see today. Chaucer, a famous English poet and writer, wrote in is book “Parliament of Foules”:

“For this was on Seynt Valentyne‚Äôs day Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.”

These words from Chaucer highlight when in time people began associating February 14 with romance and companionship, creating traditions that people will follow for centuries to come.

So while you go shopping for candies and roses and go out to dinner, remember the true origins of St. Valentine’s Day and for whom this holiday is in honor of.

Photo from catholic.org

Cardinal Nation • Copyright 2024 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in