Thursday, February 15, 2007

The History of Valentine's Day

The origin of Valentine's Day, or even who St. Valentine was, is shrouded in mystery. According to,there were three St. Valentine’s and they were all martyrs.

St. Valentine may have been killed while helping Christians escape the Roman prisons where they were tortured and beaten. The story I like the best is this one. Roman Emperor Claudius II forbade young men to get married in the third century. The Emperor felt soldiers performed better if they were single and since his pool of potential soldiers was the young men in his empire, this made sense to him. St. Valentine defied the order and continued to perform marriage ceremonies in secret. When Claudius discovered Valentine’s deception, he had him put to death.

St. Valentine is also thought to be the first person to send a “Valentine.” While in jail, he fell in love with a young girl. He sent her a letter before his death and signed it, “From Your Valentine.” Regardless of which legend is true, this guy was romantic!

Valentine’s Day is celebrated in February to commemorate the death of St. Valentine’s Day. In actuality, the date may have been set by the Catholic church to “Christianize” a pagan celebration called Lupercalia which was celebrated on February 15th. This was a purification holiday related to agriculture. Sacrifices were made by the Luperci order of priests in the hope the year’s harvest would be good that year.

When friends and lovers in Great Britain began exchanging handmade tokens of their affection around the seventeenth century, they began what would become the second biggest time of year for sending cards, the first being Christmas.

So I hope you received a nice card for Valentine’s Day this year! The handmade kinds are my favorites. How about you?

(Thank you to from which all of this information was obtained.)

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