Valentine’s Day, also known as Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is a celebration that takes place on February 14 each year. Every year, millions across the world gift their loved ones with all kinds of gifts, flowers, chocolates. The date is celebrated in many countries around the world, although it is not a public holiday in most of them. The name of Saint Valentine became popular, and various churches have been dedicated to him. However, in 1969, the Catholic Church removed his name from the general calendar, in an effort to remove those saints whose origins are based primarily on legendary accounts. This does not mean that Valentine is no longer a saint. However, his feast is no longer celebrated on February 14 by most Catholics throughout the world.
The St. Valentine’s Day, is named after an actual Christian and Catholic saint (or, possibly, up to three), and the day is celebrated popularly in many Western countries on February 14. In the Church, the day is associated with martyrdom, but in Western popular culture, it is associated with love and romance.
Valentine’s Day celebrations are said to have been derived from both ancient Christian and Roman tradition. It is very interesting to know who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient tradition. Some people say that the holiday has originated from the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalis/Lupercalia, a fertility celebration that used to observed annually on February. But, the story of St. Valentine has two different versions – the Protestant and the Catholic one. Both versions agree upon Saint Valentine being a bishop who held secret marriage ceremonies of soldiers in opposition to Claudius II orders who had prohibited marriage for young men. It was believed that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome, and when Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men, alleging that single men made better soldiers than those who were married and with families. Valentine, refused to agree with the emperor regarding the ban on marriage. It is also said that the emperor tried to convert Valentine to the Roman gods. When Valentine attempted to convert the emperor, he knew the consequences: this angered Claudius II who ordered his death.
Another legend says that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians that were beaten and tortured in Roman prisons. According to this legend, Valentine were put in jail for his dedication to the ideals of Christ. His ideals conflicted with the orders from emperor Claudius II, who had forced all Romans to worship twelve gods, and had made it a crime punishable by death to associate with Christians. On the eve of his death, Valentinus wrote a last note to Julia ( the jailers daughter who he fell in love with), urging her to stay close to God. He signed the note: “From your Valentine.” and his sentence was carried out the next day, February 14, 270 A.D, near a gate that was later named Porta Valentini in his memory. He was buried at what is now the Church of Praxedes in Rome. This expression became so popular that is still used to this date. Because of his reputation, Valentine became one of the most popular saints in England and France.
It was only during the 14th century that St. Valentine’s Day became definitively associated with love. In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th century, it was common for friends and lovers of all social backgrounds to exchange small gifts of affection or handwritten notes. Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. As time passed, the holiday evolved, and by the 18th century, gift-giving and exchanging handmade cards on Valentine’s Day had become common in England.
Hearts, the colour red, roses, images and statues of cupids, and cupids’ bows and arrows symbolise the feeling of romance and love on Valentine’s Day. Cupid is usually portrayed as a small winged figure with a bow and arrow. In mythology, the cupid uses his arrow to strike the hearts of people.
This Valentine’s day, focus on making sure to show someone special love, romance, appreciation and friendship. Happy Valentine’s day!