In the modern day, we all know Valentine’s Day as the day when people show their love for another person. On this day, people might send out cards with messages of love, flowers, chocolates, and other gifts to their loved ones. But how much do you really know about the history of this special day?
Who was St Valentine?
There are many versions as to who St Valentine really was. One of the most popular belief is that he was a Roman priest in the 3rd century AD.
The story goes: Emperor Claudius II had banned marriage, as he thought that married men make bad soldiers. Valentine felt this was unfair, so he broke the rules and arranged marriages in secret, and was sentenced to death when the Emperor found out. While in jail, he and the jailer’s daughter fell in love, and when he was taken to be killed on 14 February, he sent her a love letter signed – ‘from your Valentine’.
Where did Valentine’s Day originated?
Valentine’s Day was thought to have originated from an old Roman festival called that was celebrated in mid-February to signal the official start of springtime. As part of the celebrations, boys drew names of girls from a box, they’d then date each other during the festival as boyfriend and girlfriend, and sometimes they’d get married.
Later on, the church wanted to celebrate this festival as a Christian celebration, and decided to use it to remember St Valentine as well. Gradually, St Valentine’s name was used by the general public to express their feelings to those whom they love; as ‘your Valentine’ / ‘You are my Valentine’.