Why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day?
- Credit: Archant
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner we take a look at the history behind why couples around the world celebrate the day.
Valentine’s Day is celebrated every year on February 14.
The day is known for its association with soppy cards of admiration, bunches of roses and heart shape boxes of chocolates.
Valentine’s Day gets its name from a famous saint, however according to the Catholic church there are three theories of who that saint was.
One theory is that Valentine was a priest who served during the third 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 didn’t agree with this and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. However, when Valentine’s actions were discovered Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
A different version of events is Valentine was killed for attempting to help Christians escape Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured.
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The next story is that an imprisoned Valentine sent the first Valentine letter himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him.
Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today.
Even though it isn’t clear who Saint Valentine’s was or why he is famous - each theory shows he was a heroic and romantic figure.
How did Valentine’s Day start?
Having a Valentine is thought to originate from a Roman Festival.
The festival was called Lupercalia and was in the middle of February.
As part of the celebrations it is thought that boys drew names of girls from a box.
They would be boyfriend and girlfriend during the festival and sometimes they would get married.
The church then wanted to turn the festival into a Christian celebration and decided to use it to remember St Valentine too.
Did you know?
• The first Valentine’s Day was in the year 496.
• On average 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent out globally.
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