The traditions of Valentine’s Day are broad and many. It is a time to exchange cards or small gifts. Chocolates, flowers, jewelry, and romantic dinners are the big hits of this holiday. It is a romantic event for lovers, and a fun event for kids and family. Many couples become engaged or marry on Valentine’s Day. For others, it is a day to fall in love.
The roots of Valentine’s Day go back to ancient times, when people paid honor to the Roman God of Fertility. This was known as the Feast of Lupercalia and was celebrated even then on February 14th. St. Valentine is the patron saint of Valentine’s Day. In the early days of the Roman empire Christianity was discriminated against. Christian marriages were forbidden at that time. St. Valentine, then the Bishop of Rome, continued to preach Christianity and to perform Christian marriages. He was imprisoned for disobeying the emperor. While in prison, he continued writing letters and even converted convicts in jail to Christianity. He befriended Julia, the daughter of the jailer. When the emperor Claudius discovered that he was still preaching Christianity from his jail cell, he was executed (270A.D.). In his last letter to the jailer’s daughter before his execution, he signed it “From your Valentine”, which is where this holiday then got its name.
The custom of sending Valentines to each other may have come from the thought process of February 14th being thought to be the first day of bird’s mating for the season.
So, amidst all the chocolates and the red ribbon, bows and cards, remember to stop and think about those that came before us, and once again, sacrificed so that we could have the freedoms and the liberties that we have today. To celebrate how and with whom we wish, without fear of repercussion.