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The Truth Behind Valentine’s Day

Did you ever ask yourself why many celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Well there is a story to be told one that is forgotten in the midst of the romance. Every year on February 14 we celebrate love in the name of Saint Valentine. We exchange candy, flowers and gifts. But what is the story behind the holiday of love and who is the Saint who made it all happen?


It all started during the third century in Rome, under the rule of Emperor Claudius P. A time when Rome was involved in many unpopular military campaigns. Men were reluctant to join his military leagues, which led to Claudius believing the reason was that Roman men didn’t want to leave their loved ones behind. Therefor Claudius outlawed all marriages and engagements in Rome, thinking that single men made better soldiers.


Valentine a Christian priest realizing the injustice of such a law stood by his beliefs of love and secretly married couples despite the Emperors orders. Soon the Emperor Claudius took knowledge of these ceremonies and sentenced Valentine to prison where he remained until he was clubbed, stoned and beheaded on February 14 in the year 270.


According to the legend during his imprisonment Valentine fell in love with the blind daughter of his jailer who visited him during that time. It is alleged that before his death he signed a message to her “From Your Valentine”, an expression that is still used today. If that were true, it would have been the first Valentine’s greeting.


Valentine’s day as we know it now began to develop a few hundred years later when Christianity began to take hold in Europe. As part of this effort the church sought to clean up the Roman Pagan Day which was known as Lupercalia; a fertility festival which was held in mid-February, and replaced it to honor his sacrifice for love with Valentine’s Day after naming him Saint.


Until today many continue the tradition of honoring St. Valentine. And although the truth behind his legacy is somewhat unclear the stories certainly prove that he was a sympathetic, brave and most significant a romantic figure.       


Photo credit: maf04 / Foter / CC BY-SA     

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