History of Valentine’s Day
By: Joy M. and Lylianna L., Staff writers
Did you know that nearly 150 million cards are exchanged each Valentine’s Day? That makes Valentine’s Day the second most popular card-sending holiday, after Christmas!
“Each year on February 14th, many people exchange cards, candy, gifts or flowers with their special valentine. The day of romance we call Valentine’s Day is named for a Christian martyr and dates back to the 5th century, but has origins in the Roman holiday Lupercalia,” according to History.com writers.
Is this a holiday that usually reminds you of love when you hear it? Well, the origin of it was more about a man wanting to keep the sanctity of marriage! Father Frank O’Gara of Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin, Ireland, tells the real story of the man behind the history of Valentine’s Day, Saint Valentine.
Most people believe that Saint Valentine was a priest who lived around 270 AD and he found disfavor with the Roman emperor, Claudius II who lived around this time. Romans were shocked when they found out a new law where Claudius banned marriage from Rome. The emperor had trouble recruiting enough soldiers into his army because soldiers couldn’t marry. Claudius banned marriage in hopes of encouraging soldiers to take on numerous loves without commitment, so potential soldiers wouldn’t worry about wives and children when off in battle. When Saint Valentine saw the overwhelming sadness that young lovers were facing and that they lost all hope on getting married he was greatly disturbed. Therefore, he planned to help them. Though the law said that marriage was prohibited, Saint Valentine could not bear to see others in such misery. So Saint Valentine chose to help young lovers marry secretly and he performed ceremonies for them at a Christian church in hope that Claudius wouldn’t find out.
Saint Valentine eventually was caught and was imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against the command of Emperor Claudius II. “In the year 269 AD, Saint Valentine was sentenced to a three part execution of a beating, stoning, and finally decapitation all because of his stand for young lovers to be joined together in marriage.”
As Saint Valentine was in prison, he was approached by Asterius, his jailor. Saint Valentine wrote his last words to Asturias’s daughter because he was aware that she was blind. It appears that Saint Valentine actually helped in some way, healing the blind daughter. The Catholic legend indicates that he did this through his strong faith. He inspired today’s admirers by signing a letter to her saying, “from your Valentine.”
According to History.com, “The idea of encouraging them to carry on their vows within the Christian church was what Saint Valentine was all about. Saint Valentine has come to be known as the patron saint of lovers because he wanted to help people marry in Christian churches.”
All Saint Valentine’s intention was to get couples to have a Christian marriage and have a relationship with God. Over the years it changed and it became to be known as a love holiday because Saint Valentine was encouraging young lovers to be joined marriage.
History of Valentine’s Day. (2009, January 1). Retrieved February 13, 2015.