Every February, across the world, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. One would wonder, who is this saint and why do we celebrate this holiday in his name?
The history of Valentine’s Day and its patron saint is masked in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, is a blend of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition.
Today, the Catholic Church recognizes 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, 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. 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.
According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first ‘valentine’ greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl — who may have been his jailor’s daughter — who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he Wrote ‘From your Valentine,’ an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is not so clear, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a heroic, sympathetic, and, most importantly a romantic figure. It’s no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England & France.
What & Why You Should Gift Your Valentine?
The rose, which is undoubtedly the most popular flower in the world, speaks of love and has been the choice of lovers in every century. If you rearrange the letters of the word rose you get Eros, the God of Love.
Cupid was one of the gods of Mythology. In Latin, the word Cupid means “desire.” Cupid is typically represented as a chubby, naked, winged boy or youth with a mischievous smile. He possessed a bow with a quiver of arrows by which he transfixed the hearts of youths and maidens. Cherubs are descendants of Cupid. They are depicted as lovable little winged creatures without arrows and quivers. Cherubs were typically not mischievous like Cupid.
Have a lovely Valentine’s Day!