There’s so much mystery around the history of Valentine’s Day and the story of its patron saint. February, which is usually tagged the month of romance and celebrated as such, stems from ancient Roman and Christian tradition. But are you aware who Saint Valentine was and how he came to be associated with this rite?
Stay with me as I highlight some facts about Valentine’s Day you probably don’t know about.
Asides Christmas, Valentine’s Day is the second most popular card-sending holiday- about 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged yearly.
There have been three different saints who were martyred which were named Valentine or Valentinus that’s recognised by the Roman Catholic Church.
Enter the marriage opposing emperor, a renegade priest and marriage.
After Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men because he felt single men made better soldiers, Valentine secretly continued to join young lovers together by performing marriage rites for them, thereby defiling Claudius’ law. On finding out that Valentine’s actions were against his decree, he ordered that Valentine be put to death.
Some other stories suggest that his death was as a result of attempting to help Christians escape the harsh roman treatment they got while in Roman prisons.
Yet, one legend suggests that Valentine sent the first greeting himself after falling in love with a young girl, probably his jailer’s daughter while he was in prison. The young girl often visited him while he was in confinement before he died, it was said that he wrote her a letter which read ‘From your Valentine’, an expression fondly used till this day.
Though these stories cannot be verified, they all reflect a personality that was sympathetic, heroic and romantic. Valentine would still remain one of the most popular saints in France and England.