The origin of Valentine’s Day – not as sweet as it sounds

 

February 14th. Every year on this day, people celebrate love. It is the day for thoughtful gifts and grand romantic gestures. But the question is, how did this tradition get its start?

 

St. Valentine isn’t really the beginning of the story…

 

The story of Valentine’s Day can actually be traced all the way back to the Romans. In fact, the first Valentine’s Day was in the year 496. The Romans used to throw a festival to celebrate fertility in mid-February called Lupercalia (we’ll let you do your own reading on that one). Later, around the 14th century, the church decided to make this a Christian festival and a day to honor Saint Valentine.

 

St. Valentine’s story

 

Legend has it that Emperor Claudius II banned marriage because he reasoned that married men would be consumed by the thought of their love which would distract them from the war effort.

A priest named Valentine sought to remedy this injustice and arranged marriages in secret. When Emperor Claudius found out, Valentine was thrown in jail and sentenced to death. There in the prison cell, he fell in love with the jailer's daughter.

On the day of his execution, February 14, he sent her a love letter signed "from your Valentine". Ever since then, Valentine’s name has become synonymous with love, devotion, and grand gestures.

 

Wishing you and your honey a sweet Valentine’s Day this year!

 

To learn more about St. Valentine, check out What is Valentine's Day and how did it start?  from our friends at BBC.