Origin of Valentine's Day

Find out how this special day originated way back in the 3rd century

Valentine’s Day originated way back in the 3rd century. Saint Valentine was a priest in Rome during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. It seems the Emperor was having trouble recruiting members for his army because the men didn’t want to leave their wives and children for the long military expeditions which would last for months and even years. Claudius then decided that banning marriages in Rome would solve this problem. The Emperor had Valentine condemned to death for defying his order and marrying couples in secret.

As Valentine awaited execution, his admirers would come to the jail bearing notes of support and flowers. As luck would have it, his most ardent admirer turned out to be the daughter of the prison guard. She would visit him for hours. The day of his execution, February 14 in the year 269 AD, Valentine wrote her a note expressing his gratitude for her love, support, and friendship and signed it "Love from our Valentine".

As it turned, out, the festival of Lupercalia (an ode to the god of fertility and a celebratoin of sensual pleasure) followed close after Valentine was executed.

During the festival, boys would draw the names of girls and they would pair up for the festivities. The name Valentine was linked to this romantic festival.

In 496, Pope Gelasius set aside February 14 to honor Valentine as a saint.

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