For most people today Valentine’s Day is just regarded as a commercial day of love. A date where people show their significant other that they love them, because someone else did so a long time ago and it just grew in acceptance over time. But it is much more than that.
Did you know we celebrate the Valentines day in the memory of Saint Valentine? Maybe a simple story can make you know the history of Valentines Day much better. After that, you will realize that Valentine’s Day is not only about young lovers’ romantic love, not only about gift-giving for your loved ones such like chocolates, candies with cute boxes, love message cards, roses, flowers, necklace or other jewelry, but also in the memory of Saint Valentine.
Story of Saint Valentines- The History of Valentine’s Day
2000 years ago, the most powerful army in the world belonged to Romans. The Romans were so strong that they conquered almost all of Europe and parts of Asia and Africa, but then they began to grow very rich and a little bit lazy.
Life in the army was harsh and many of the soldiers longed for the comforts of home, they wanted to get married and set up families.
At that time, the Roman Empire was ruled by Claudius II Gothicus. He was nicknamed Claudius the Cruel because of his harsh leadership, and his tendency for getting into frequent wars.
One day Claudius II realized that young men were not enlisting in the army as they wanted a life of peace- living with wife and kids. And he worried that his army was growing soft, so he made a law that no soldier was allowed to get married. From that time, he banned any further marriage to happen in his kingdom.
Thousands of couples saw their hopes of matrimony dashed by this tyrant. This new law was imposed for so many years and no one seemed to stand up to the Emperor.
But not everyone was afraid of the Emperor, there was a kind Christian priest named Valentine who lived in Rome and he stood up against the law.
Saint Valentine believed that if a man and woman fell in love with each other, they should get married. He took notice of the pains of young men and women in love, and he did everything he could do to help couples in love to get married in his church. Even though it was against the law.
The weddings were meant to be kept secret but as you know all secrets are hard to keep and soon the word got out.
One day, when father Valentine made all the arrangements to get a couple of young lovers married, but while the ceremony was going on, the soldiers came and Father Valentine was arrested and brought before the Emperor who demanded that Valentine stopped helping the couples to marry and instead that he prayed to the gods of the Rome .
“Why were you helping the couples get married? Didn’t you know that I have prohibited marriage in my Empire?” The Emperor was very angry.
“I believed I was doing God’s work by helping them unite, let God be the judge!” Valentine explained to the Emperor.
“How dare you talk to me like that! Soldier, put this man in jail and let him rot there to death! ”
Valentine was put in jail and condemned to death as the Emperor had ordered.
Ever since the people knew that father Valentine was imprisoned, a large group of young couples were standing outside of the jail and praying for Valentine.
When Valentine was in prison, the jailer’s daughter named Julia used to bring him his food. Julia was a young woman, but she was unfortunately blind. She and Valentine used to spend long hours talking to each other and soon they fell in love.
One day, Valentine put his hand through the bars of the cell and touched the lips of Julia’s closed eyes. When she opened again, she could see. It was a miracle.
As the day of the punishment arrived, Valentine was called to the palace once again.
“What do you say now, Priest? I am willing to let you go if you admit what you did was a mistake.” The Emperor said.
“Thanks for the offer, but I cannot admit anything and I only did what is right in the eyes of my lord.” Valentine refused the emperor.
“How dare you! Soldier, take him to the city gates, clubbed him to death in front of everyone, let his punishment be a model to anyone who disobeys me. ”
Valentine on the eve of his death started writing a letter to Julia. It was the most amazing love letter ever written. In the letter he also urged her to stay close to God. He asked Julia to go and see all the beautiful things he had described in his stories. In the end, he signed his love letter “from your Valentine”. His sentence was carried out the next day February 14th, 270 AD. Valentine’s body was then buried near a church.
Valentine gave his life so that young couples could be bonded together in holy matrimony. They may have killed the man, but not his spirit.
Even centuries after his death, the story of Valentine’s self-sacrificing commitment to love was legendary in Rome.
Some Interesting & Surprising Valentine’s Day Facts
After the story of Saint Valentine, we know much better about the history of this tradition festival. But did you know when did people start celebrating the Valentine’s Day? And did you know there are some interesting Valentine facts?
Valentine’s greetings date from a long time ago when the suitors would sing or recite a romantic verse to their love. The earliest know Valentine’s message was sent in 1477, in the form of a letter penned by one Marjorie Bruges to a John Pastan who she described as “my right well beloved Valentine”.
Saint Valentine is considered as the patron saint of love, young people and happy marriages.
OK, now I hope you are ready for some interesting and pretty surprising Valentine’s Day facts.
The 1st Fact: Every year over 1 billion Valentines are sent all over the world! That is a ton of Valentines sent all over the world! What is the most awesome and amazing that teachers receive the most Valentines each year. Kids do a great job to recognizing all that their teachers do to help them day in and day out.
The 2nd Fact: Valentine’s Day is mainly celebrated in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Mexico, Italy, Denmark and Australia.
The 3rd Fact: It’s also a big holiday for candy. Over 1 million boxes of chocolate are given each year for Valentine’s Day! We have Richard Cadbury to thank for that. In 1800s, he was the first person to make chocolates for Valentine’s Day.
The 4th Fact: It is believed that Valentine’s Day began all the way back in Rome in 270 AD (we have mentioned this history at the beginning part of this article, but would like to talk it here again as it is one of the most important Valentine’s facts).
That was when Emperor Claudius II was in charge and he made weddings against the law, no one can have a wedding, how crazy is that? A man named Bishop Valentine is said to have secretly married couples. Well, that was against the law so he was sent to jail where he later sent love letters to the jailer’s daughter Julia, and he finished his letters with “your Valentine”.
The story does have a sad ending on Feb 14th, he was killed for standing up for what he believed in. Every February 14th, we celebrate Valentine’s Day by showing around us how much we love and appreciate him.
The 5th Fact: Valentine's Day isn't only for lovers in the USA. Do you know how Americans celebrate Valentine's Day? They give Valentines to their family, and they send Valentines to friends and relatives who live far away, and they give Valentines to their friends who live near them. This is a special day for telling people that we care about.
What’s different about Valentine’s Day in the USA?
Valentine’s Day is a very special holiday in the USA, and in many other countries too. It’s the day of love, Valentine’s Day! And in many places, Valentine’s Day is for couples, it is for romantic love only. But not in the USA!
What’s so different about Valentine’s Day in the USA? Here I will walk through some differences so that you don’t make any social mistakes on February 14th!
#1 At Schools
Americans have celebrated Valentine’s Day since the 19th century. But the holiday became really popular in the 20th century, especially in schools.
In the USA, Valentine’s Day is a big event at schools, it is a huge event. In elementary school, for example, kids exchange Valentine’s cards. Each kid will make a special box, and every student in the class will put a Valentine’s card in the box of every other kid in the class.
So if you live in the USA and you have a kid in Elementary School, make sure that your kid has enough cards for the whole class. But don’t worry, because you can buy special class sets of Valentine’s cards at any super market like Walmart, you’ll find Valentine’s cards there.
Students also offer a Valentine’s Day present to their teacher. Chocolate, maybe flowers, or a small gift.
There will probably be a Valentine’s Day party, with heart shaped cookies, red velvet cupcakes, and conversation hearts. Conversion hearts are the classic Valentine’s Day candy in the USA. Every American knows this little candy. And these little hearts, they have cute messages like “Kiss me”, “Be kind”, “My baby”, or more modern messages like “Tweet me” and “Girl power”!
#2 Family & Friends
Adults also exchange Valentines, gifts and cards with family and friends. Most of people always give a Valentine’s Day card to their parents (nowadays they will send e-cards instead).
The cards might have short, sweet messages like “You are the best mom/ dad ever! Happy Valentine’s Day!” or “You’re such a sweet daughter!” or things like that. And these cards, are often funny, but they can also be serious and sentimental too.
Chocolates are popular gifts for friends and family too, especially a heart shaped box of chocolates. The classic ones are the Whitman’s and anything by the brand Russel Stover, those are classic ones. But if you’re in the USA, you will have more than enough choice.
#3 With Your Love
Of course, in the USA, you also celebrate with your significant other, this just means your boyfriend or your girlfriend, or your fiance if you’re engaged. Or if you’re married, your husband or your wife.
For couples, it’s pretty traditional. You might offer flowers, like a dozen red roses, or may be jewelry. Jewelry could be earrings, or a necklace or maybe even a ring if the relationship is serious.
It is also popular to go out to eat, to a nice restaurant. Or you might say “I’m taking my boyfriend out to eat.” Or you can do like Barack and Michelle Obama, write funny love poems (their poems are so cute!).
#4 Have Fun!
What’s most important on Valentine’s Day? It’s not what you do, it’s not how much money you spend, it’s to show that you care for others. Your friends, classmates, colleagues, your teachers, and your significant other. Even your pet, like your cat or your dog. 21% of Americans give a Valentine’s Day to their pet, their cat or dog. So it’s not just for couples.
You don’t have to do classic Valentine’s Day things, you can just go out for pizza, just because you like to do. In the USA, any occasion is a good opportunity to celebrate something, and on Valentine’s Day we celebrate our love and our appreciation for others.
Now what about you? Did you know about this Valentine’s Day tradition before you reading this article? And what do you do for Valentine’s Day? Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?
It is such a good holiday show people how much you love and appreciate. If you know of any facts that we missed, feel free to comment below to share them. And also, share this article with a friend that you appreciate, and spread the love everywhere!
Happy Valentine’s Day!