Saturday, February 14, 2015

History of Valentine's Day

Is the history of Valentines Day expressed in the current celebration of yummy chocolates, lovely cards, and sparkling engagement rings? What is the story behind such a highly-retailed celebration?

Some say the day is named after a bishop named Valentine, who was stationed in the Roman Empire. Claudius II was the Emperor at that time. He thought that unmarried men made better soldiers, so he decided to make it a law that young men could not marry. Around 270 A.D., Valentine took pity on the ostracized soldiers who were not permitted to marry or see their sweethearts.

He became an advocate of these young lovers and began to perform secret marriages. He was soon found out and jailed. Emperor Claudius II attempted to convert Valentine to begin worshiping the Roman gods, but Valentine refused. Instead, he tried to convert Claudius to Christianity and Valentine sentenced to be executed on February 24, 270.

Another version of the history of Valentines Day tells that Valentine fell in love with his jailer’s daughter. Just before his death, he sent her a note and signed it “from your Valentine.” An aura of romance surrounded his demise and those who knew about it spread the tale. Bishop Valentine became Saint Valentine with his fame extending to England and France.

After his death, Valentine then became what is known as a “Patron Saint.” Some considered him the spiritual overseer of an annual festival in which young Romans would distribute cards of affection to those they wished to formally see. This festival was held each February 14. There are Valentine cards in museums worldwide that date back to 1415.

February has been the month to celebrate love ever since the Middle Ages.


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