Happy Valentine’s Day! History of St Valentine and the most romantic day of the year

The most romantic day of the year is here when you can show your other half just how much you love them.

Valentine’s Day can be a love it or loathe it day. While some celebrate with romantic gestures, cards and flowers others stay well clear of all such displays.

But what is the story behind Valentine’s Day?

Well as it’s February 14 here’s everything you need to know about the history of the day and how we’ve ended up where we are.

We’ve gone through the history books to find out the reasons and origins and how the day’s evolved.

The true history behind St Valentine

Numerous Christian saints go by the name of Valentine.

The one that’s become the centre of attention every February 14 is St Valentine of Rome.

Two legends surround him.

The first is that men in the Roman army had been forbidden to marry by Emperor Claudius II as he believed married men did not make good soldiers.

This was something Valentine disagreed with and he set about performing secret weddings for Christian soldiers until his actions were uncovered, leading to his arrest and execution in 269 AD.

St Valentine Saint Valentine patron Saint of lovers
St Valentine Saint Valentine patron Saint of lovers

The other suggests that his arrest was for helping persecuted Christians escape prison in Rome.

After being thrown into jail himself he fell in love with a young woman – who is believed to be the jailer’s daughter – who visited him in his cell.

His final letter to this woman, which he left on the day of his execution, was signed ‘From your Valentine’.

Confusion remains around the identity of St Valentine. Other accounts suggest there was a Valentine who was Bishop of Terni who also died at the hands of Claudius II, however it’s thought these two men are the same.

The church stopped veneration of Valentine in 1969, however he is still listed as an official saint.

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Author: Joseph Oladokun

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