Where did we get this whole notion of showing the ones we love how much we love them on February 14th?
Saint Valentine was the main person who started this day of love, hence Valentine’s Day. There are many stories as to who this man was and why he became so important. The first story comes from the Catholic Church. Valentine was a priest in third century Rome. When the Emperor outlawed marriage for young men, because he believed only unmarried men made the best soldiers, Valentine performed marriages in secret for young lovers. Once Emperor Claudius discovered his secret, Valentine was put to death.
Very noble of a man to stand up for love even when it’s not his own.
Another story tells us that Valentine was imprisoned for helping Christians escape Roman prisons. In this legend, Valentine sent his first “valentine” greeting when he fell in love with a young girl who visited him in prison. Before he was put to death, it is said he wrote one last letter and signed it “From your Valentine” which is still used today.
Now as I said these are legends, but these legends tell stories of heroic men who had sympathy for love. Now, if we keep going along the lines of history, we find that the Christian church placed “Valentine’s Day” in the middle of February to Christianize the celebration of Lupercalia. Lupercalia was a festival in honor of Faunus who was the Roman god of agriculture and to the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus.
This festival began at a cave where it is believed Romulus and Remus were raised by a she-wolf. Priests would go to sacrifice two animals for fertility and purification and then go to town and mark women and crop fields with the blood. It was said women would become fertile for that next year and would find the love of their lives.
History can tell us amazing things that we never would have considered. But to answer my earlier question, greeting card companies did NOT create Valentine’s Day. It wasn’t until the 1900s that cards were printed to replace hand written letters.
Valentine’s Day does not have to be just for couples. It can be for friends and family as well. So here is a challenge. Write a hand written letter to the ones you love and tell them what they mean to you. Use good old fashion pen and paper and send the letter via mail. This will make it more personal then a card someone else has created for you. Feel free to post your thoughts or stories about Valentine’s Day.
Happy Valentine’s Day!