St. Valentine’s Day has both Christian and ancient Roman heritage and February has long been known as a month of Love. Valentine’s day is a day of gift giving, creative and boisterous declarations of love, and even proposals of marriage. Join in the celebration and profess your love for everyone in your life!
The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who defied emperor Claudius II by secretly marrying young lovers so the new husbands would not have to be sent into battle. Unfortunately, once discovered Claudius ordered that the priest be put to death.
According to another legend, a Roman prisoner named Valentine actually sent the first “Valentine” greeting to a young girl. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still used today.
By the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France. While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial, others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the Pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Lupercalia was celebrated on February 15 and was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
In France and England, during the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed that February 14 was the beginning of the mating season for birds, which added to the idea that Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance. Valentine greetings were popular as far back as this time period.
Americans probably began exchanging hand-made Valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland, “Mother of the Valentine”, began selling the first mass-produced Valentines in America. The Greeting Card Association states an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year, second only to Christmas.
So send a Valentine to someone you love. Take a few moments out of your busy life to spread joy and express your appreciation for the dear ones in your life. Why not create some happiness, warm up a heart of simply put a smile on someone’s face?
Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!