Nowadays, valentine’s day is attributed to love and romance, but the history of the holiday is not romantic. So, whether you cherish valentine’s or you detest it, you deserve to know the history.
You may have heard the name of St. Valentine a couple of times in your lifetime, but who is this saint, and where did the tradition originate from? There are several legends, so why don’t you just hear most of them. For example, one legend says St. valentine was a priest who served in Rome.
When the Roman emperor of that era (Emperor Claudius II) decided that single men made better soldiers than married men, he banned marriages for young men. St. Valentine thought it was an unfair decree, so he defied Claudius and continued joining young couples in holy matrimony, but in secret.
When Claudius discovered St. Valentine’s covert operation, he ordered that he be put to death. Another story said Valentine was killed for trying to help Christians escape Roman prisons where they were tortured and beaten.
A pagan festival?
Although some believe valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of february to honor the death of St. Valentine, others claim the christian church decided to place it in the middle of february to ‘Christianize’ the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. In short, Lupercalia was a fertility festival in honor of a Roman god (check online for more details).
In the middle ages, it was widely believed in England and France that february 14th was the beginning of birds’ mating season. This contributed to the idea that valentine’s should be a day for romance. An English poet, ‘Geoffrey Chaucer’ was the first to record february 14th as a day of romance in his 1375 poem.
This is as far as you’ll be interested in with the history of valentine’s because more history may bore you out. So now you have an idea of where valentine originated from, and you have something to say when the discussion comes up.