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Arts Culture The Real Story Behind Valentine’s Day

The Real Story Behind Valentine’s Day

LOVELAND SKI AREA, CO - FEBRUARY 14: Elaine Vardamis (R) of Nederland, Co. kisses her husband Dan Vardamis after the couple renewed their vows at Loveland Ski Area in Colorado at the 20th Annual Marry Me & Ski Free Mountaintop Matrimony on Valentine's Day, February 14th in Loveland, Colorado. The mass wedding ceremony was held at noon at 12,050 feet outside of the Ptarmigan Roost Cabin at Loveland. More than 75 couples were pre-registered to get married or renew their vows high on The Continental Divide in
By Mari Carmen Dávila
By Mari Carmen Dávila
February 14, 2020
The day gets its name from a famous saint, but there are several stories of who he was

This Valentine’s Day you will probably either send or receive a valentine from someone as it is the day when people show their affection to another by sending cards, flowers, chocolates and other messages of love. But have you ever wondered the meaning behind those cards and gifts? There is a true-life story full of love, sacrifice and commitment, and we've divulged it for you here.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 14:  A man carries a large teddy bear for his girlfriend along Swanston Street on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2008 in Melbourne, Australia. The day is named after two of 11 officially recognised Early Christian martyrs named Valentine, namely Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni, and has been associated with love and romance since Chaucer's 1382 writings in 'Parlement of Foules' to honour the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of B
Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images

1/2 Who Was St Valentine?

Back in the third century, the Roman Empire was ruled by Emperor Claudius II Gothicus, who was also known as Claudius the Cruel due to his harsh leadership and tendency for getting into wars and abusing his people. Believing that army recruitment was down because Roman men did not want to leave their loves or families behind, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. 

Left to right: Valentine, Proteus, Silvia and Julia (dressed as a man) in act V, scene 4 of William Shakespeare's play 'Two Gentlemen of Verona'. Engraved by Luigi Schiavonetti, circa 1800, from a painting by Maria Angelica Kauffman. (Photo by Spencer Arnold Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Photo; Courtesy of Spencer Arnold Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In protest of Claudius' policy, a Christian priest named Valentine came forward and stood up for love. He began secretly marrying soldiers before they went off to war. When Emperor Claudius found out about the secret ceremonies, he had Valentine thrown into prison facing a death sentence. While he waited for the day of his execution, Valentine met a blind girl who happened to be the jailer's daughter and fell in love with her. On the eve of his execution, it is said that Valentine wrote her a sonnet in ink that he squeezed from violets, which made her able to see again. The letter was supposedly signed "from your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today.

Circa 260 AD, The trial of St Valentine, patron saint of lovers. Original Artist: By Bart Zeitblom (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Circa 260 AD, The trial of St Valentine, patron saint of lovers depicted by artist Bart Zeitblom (Image: Courtesy of Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

2/2 How Did Valentine's Day Start?

Valentine's Day is said to have originated from a Roman festival called Lupercalia, which takes place in the middle of February to welcome spring. As part of the celebrations, boys would write down the name of their girlfriends or sweethearts and keep them inside a box. They would often get married during the festival as well. The church decided to turn Lupercalia into a Christian celebration and decided to use it to remember the patron saint of lovers, St Valentine. They picked February 14 as the day of celebration, and it's been marked globally as Valentine's Day ever since. 

 

LOVELAND SKI AREA, CO - FEBRUARY 14: Elaine Vardamis (R) of Nederland, Co. kisses her husband Dan Vardamis after the couple renewed their vows at Loveland Ski Area in Colorado at the 20th Annual Marry Me & Ski Free Mountaintop Matrimony on Valentine's Day, February 14th in Loveland, Colorado. The mass wedding ceremony was held at noon at 12,050 feet outside of the Ptarmigan Roost Cabin at Loveland. More than 75 couples were pre-registered to get married or renew their vows high on The Continental Divide in
Photo: Courtesy of Marc Piscotty/Getty Images

See more:11 Of The Best Valentine's Day Gift Ideas For 2020

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Arts & Culture Valentine's Love Couple Celebration Date Flowers

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