For many, 14th of February will involve making romantic plans with a loved one. But where does Valentine’s Day originate from?
The name Valentine itself comes from a Saint and Christian martyr, although who he was is shrouded in mystery; just like the cards we send today. However, the most popular belief is that he was a priest who was jailed and sentenced to death for breaking the law; not what you would class as very romantic!
Emperor Claudius II banned marriage under the belief that all married men were bad soldiers. Valentine, seeing the injustice in this and the distress it was causing to people, continued to marry young couples in secret but, once discovered, was swiftly arrested and condemned to death.
Whilst Valentine was locked up, he fell in love with his jailer’s daughter and it is said that on the date of his execution, he sent a love letter to her, signed ‘from your Valentine’, an expression that is still used today.
Many, although not all, believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated on the anniversary of his death or burial. Some historians, however, claim that it was in fact the Christian church which started the tradition. Seeing how popular the festival was and, to Christianise the pagan fertility festival of Lupercalia, it was decided to place St Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February.
Whichever story you believe, Valentine’s Day has been celebrated across the world for centuries and continues to grow in popularity.
Each year approximately a billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged across the world, making it the second largest card sending time of the year after Christmas.
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