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Do you know the origin of St. Valentine’s Day?

February 14th, the Feast of St. Valentine, the patron saint of lovers and engaged couples, will be marked by sending gifts, such as flowers, chocolates and poems to loved ones and secret loves. Couples will share intimate dinners and marriage proposals may even be popped on the most romantic day of the year! An estimated one billion cards are sent each year, making it the second largest card-sending spree of the year after Christmas.

St. ValentineGO2 Events

Huffington Post suggested last year that Brits may be spending almost £1 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts and experiences with men traditionally spending more than women. Play.com estimated the average spend by a Brit on Valentine’s Day presents and celebrations is £119, which matches the global average. Germany if you were interested, spends the least, coughing up just £59 per person!

The celebrations of St. Valentine’s Day have not arisen simply out of our need for more commercialism though but have their origins steeped in legend and mystery.

Like many of our festivals and feast days originating from Christianity, there is often more than one explanation for a particular tradition and although there are reports of several St. Valentines, the most plausible for this celebration is of a third century Roman priest who was martyred for refusing to give up Christianity. It is reported that Emperor Claudius believed that married men made poor soldiers and subsequently decreed that all marriages of younger citizens be outlawed. The young priest Valentine betrayed Emperor Claudius in by conducting illegal Wedding ceremonies, claiming that marriage was part of God’s plan and purpose for the world and he conducted marriages in secret between young people, in the name of love.

Valentine was jailed and ultimately beheaded on February 14, 269 A.D. It is said that an almond tree near his grave burst with pink flowers and all the birds chose mates, hence the term “love birds.” Legend also claims that St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter with whom he had become friends, and signed it “From Your Valentine”. This story albeit probably heavily romanticised, defines the tradition of Valentine’s Day.

The first official Saint Valentine’s Day was declared on 14th of February by Pope Galasius in 496, in memory of this third century martyred priest in Rome.

So spare a thought for the poor, beheaded St. Valentine when exchanging your messages of love this year and have a wonderful St. Valentine’s Day with your loved one!

St. Valentine

Brown’s Photography


6th February 2018
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