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Thank You, St. Valentine

Although we should be telling our loved ones how much they mean to us more than one day a year, it is nice to have a day dedicated to love where the world can come together, bonding over a designated day.

Have you ever wondered how Valentine’s Day came to be? Over the years, holidays have changed and adapted to incorporate more modern ideals, but they often stem from historical origins. This is the case with Valentine’s Day. Here is some background on St. Valentine, who we have to thank for a designated day of love.

Below are a few legends of how Valentine’s Day came to be. Historical sources are unsure of which (if any) are correct, so choose your favorite. They originate within England and France, prior to the Middle Ages, although it appears St. Valentine was Roman. In any event, all accounts have St. Valentine dying a martyr, dying for the sake of protecting love. The first legend suggests that St. Valentine went against the wishes of a certain Emperor, who forbid young male soldiers from marrying, as he believed they were better soldiers when they were not attached to wives or children. This upset St. Valentine, who went against the Emperor’s laws, secretly marrying young couples where the man served in the military. Because of his actions, St. Valentine was put to death.

Another other legend suggests that St. Valentine was imprisoned for helping prisoners escape from jail due to religious persecution, specifically against Christians. He fell in love with a woman who visited him while he himself sat in prison, writing her notes with the phrase “From your Valentine” written on them. As you’ll notice, this expression still stands today.

But what is special about February 14th, specifically? Valentine’s Day has roots tied to the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a fertility celebration. Pope Gelasius I transformed this pagan festival to a Christian feast, and changing the date from the previous day of February 15th to February 14th.

These are just a few examples of folklore and legends surrounding the infamous Valentine’s Day. No matter which one (if any), have any fact to them, you cannot deny the romance and sacrifice surrounding this day. Thank you, St. Valentine, in providing us a reason to make an effort in the name of love.

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