Valentine’s Day is a festival of love and emotions – a day when young couples ratify their oath of love and commitment to each other.
It is also considered as the second-largest economic festival after Christmas. At least 15 billion cards are being exchanged only in developing countries.
Valentine’s Day is believed to be a day of love but we don’t have any confirmation about the origin of the day. There are at least three tales from Christianity and one from ancient roman myths.
The Day of love ones occurs every February 14. Love birds exchange flowers, chocolates, cakes and many other gifts all in the name of St. Valentine.
But who is this mysterious saint and where did these traditions come from?
February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition.
According to the legends of the Catholic Church – at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.
One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men.
Valentine’s Day – Christian Tales
Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Still, others insist that it was Saint Valentine of Terni, a bishop, who was the true namesake of the holiday. He, too, was beheaded by Claudius II outside Rome.
Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured.
Another legend says, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement.
Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today.
Ancient Pagan Tales
Some historian believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–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. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.