Holiday Origins: St. Valentine’s Day

This post is a bit late (sorry), I had an extra busy day at work and passed out about twenty minutes afterwards and was unable to be woken up. Again, terribly sorry about that hopefully it won’t happen again when I have a post planned.

Anyway, even though this is a day late I wanted to share some research I did on St. Valentine’s Day with everyone so, this is the brief history I found about the origins of the holiday we celebrated yesterday.

In doing research I found a few different results for why we celebrate Valentine’s Day so I’m going to share the two I found that seemed to make the most sense/seen the most frequently.

Saint Valentine died  around 270 A.D. so it’s kind of hard to get the details of much of what happened however according to my sources it was something like this; a Roman Emperor placed a ban on marriage for any man young enough to join the army as he wanted to expand his military power and thought having unmarried soldiers was the best way to do this. St. Valentine disagreed with the emperor and secretly married young couples against the emperor’s decree. For this he was imprisoned and executed. His execution is said to have taken place on February the 14th (although date keeping back then hardly seems that reliable).

At this point the two stories start to differ, one story claims that the Christians changed a pagan fertility holiday celebrated around that time to be about St. Valentine’s work. This is actually pretty believable in my opinion seeing as other holidays (Easter, etc.) have pagan elements brought in to stop people from celebrating the pagan holiday they are seeking to replace.

The other story, a much more child friendly story, especially if you look into how the aforementioned pagan fertility holiday was celebrated, is focused more on why we give “valentines” to each other. This story says that while Valentine was in prison for marrying couples against the emperor’s orders his supporters sent him letters, some of which he replied to, these letters were signed “from your Valentine”.

It was kind of hard to find information on this as everything took place so long ago but this was what I could find in my online research as well as a book raiding on anything I could find Valentine’s Day related. Personally I want to believe both stories are at least a little true but the last one is awfully cute for a story from that era involving imprisonment and execution so I don’t know that I necessarily believe it. The most likely story is the first one but the second one is the only one I found (aside from greeting card marketing) about giving Valentine’s and I thought I’d share it and let others decide what they think.

Again, I’m really sorry this was a bit late and I hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day.

Thanks for reading,

-A

 

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