Valentine’s Day—or rather, SaintSt_Valentine Valentine’s Day—is followed by a colourful

history. On the 14th of February ever year, couples celebrate their affection and proclamations of love are made through the giving of gifts such as chocolate, flowers and cheesy poems. However, very few people question why this custom is practised, yet alone why it exists. Who is Saint Valentines, and how did he bring forth what we know as Valentine’s Day?

There are varying tales that surround Valentine’s Day, and this essentially accounts for the aura of mystery and ambiguity that surrounds St. Valentines. One such story implies that Valentine was a priest who served in the Roman army during the third century. Emperor Claudius II introduced a new decree stating that, because single men were deemed to be better soldiers, young men were no longer allowed to get married. Valentine was said to have fiercely opposed the new decree, and started hosting marriages for young couples in secrecy. Emperor Claudius eventually discovered this, and ordered that Valentine be put to death. This is the most widely accepted version of the story, yet there are still multiple others that bear equal amounts of influence.

Another story suggests that Valentine was imprisoned after he was caught helping Christians escape Roman prisons. While he was in prison, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, who visited him frequently. It is said that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine”, a phrase that is widely associated with Valentine’s Day cards and love letters.

The history of Valentine’s Day is one shrouded in mystery. It is constituted by the combination of fact and fiction, but the overall concepts that provide Valentine’s Day with its basis are celebrated all over the world. This day celebrates St. Valentine as a heroic, romantic figure who fought for the freedom of others, paying with his life. Valentine’s Day is a symbolic day of love and joy, and will continue to be so for years to come, thanks to the ever iconic Saint Valentines. 

By: Timour Razek