The History of Valentine’s Day

- 14 Jul 2010 - Tags:

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Every year millions of people across the world celebrates Valentines Day on the 14th February. The candies, flowers, chocolates and other lovely gifts are all symbols of this day of lovers but the main symbol of valentine is St. Valentine’s. However, do you know the real history behind the Valentine’s Day and how this day first became to be celebrated? Well, here it goes…

History of Valentine’s:

It is not known exactly what is the true source for the history of Valentine’s Day since there are several legends behind it. As per one legend, 14th February was celebrated in honor of Juno, queen of the Roman’s gods and goddesses. Juno was the protector of women and marriage.

The ancient Romans celebrated the spring festival lupercalis/lupercalia on the February 15th annually. With the introduction of Christianity, Pope Gelasius around 496 AD turned Lupercalia into a Christian feast day to be celebrated a day earlier i.e. on February 14. He announced February 14 to be the feast day in honor of Saint Valentine, a Roman martyr who lived in the 3rd century. It is the same St. Valentine to whom the modern Valentine’s Day is honored.

Another legend says that St. valentine was a priest in Rome who served in the days of Emperor Claudius II. The emperor believed that single men were made better soldiers than those who were married, which is the reason he outlawed marriage for young men in the hope of making them potential soldiers. The good Saint Valentine defied Claudius and continued to perform marriage ceremony for young lovers in secret. When his good deed was found out, Claudius condemned him to beat him to death. St. Valentine suffered martyrdom on the 14th day of February, about the year 270 A.D.

The other story behind this famous day is that St. valentine fall in love with the jailor’s daughter while in prison who visited him during jail sentence. Before his death, valentine sent the first valentine letter himself, which he signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Though the truth behind all these stories is still murky however these legends do emphasize St. Valentine as the sympathetic and romantic figure of the third century. This is how Valentines Day began to be celebrated as a day of all lovers, while St. Valentine became its Patron Saint.

Commercialization of Valentine’s:

The connection of Valentine’s Day with romance, mating and courtship continued through the middle Ages while St. Valentines became one of the most popular saints in England. By the 18th century, heart shaped hand made cards featuring cupids, lace, ribbons began to be created and were given to the man or women one loved. It was only around 1850’s that first greeting cards began to be commercially produced in the U.S. Today, Valentine’s is a booming commercial success and became celebrated as one of the most romantic festivals around the world. As per the Greeting Card Association, on an average one billion valentine cards are sent each year making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year.

Valentine’s Day Gift? Name a Star!

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