Valentine’s Day has roots in several different legends that have found their way to us through the ages. One of the earliest popular symbols of the day is Cupid, the Roman god of Love, who is represented by the image of a young cherub with bow and arrow. Valentine’s Day is an annual festival to celebrate romantic love, friendship and admiration. Every year on 14 February people celebrate this day by sending messages of love and affection to partners, family and friends.
History of Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is named after a Roman martyr named Valentine. Actually, there are two Valentines in the history of Roman martyrs. One was a Christian priest, who lived around 300 AD. He had been thrown in prison for his teachings, and for refusing to worship the Roman gods. He also supposedly cured the jailer’s daughter of her blindness. On February 14, this Valentine was beheaded. As the story goes, the night before he was executed, he wrote the jailer’s daughter a farewell letter, signing it, “From Your Valentine.”
February has long been a month of romance. It is the month associated with Valentine’s Day celebrations. We have, time and again, heard the name St. Valentine being uttered before us in this season of love.
Every year, the fourteenth day of the month of February has millions across the world presenting their loved ones with candy, flowers, chocolates and other lovely gifts. In many countries, restaurants and eateries are seen to be filled with couples who are eager to celebrate their relationship and the joy of their togetherness through delicious cuisines. There hardly seems to be a young man or woman who is not keen to make the most of the day.
Valentine’s Day is named after Saint Valentine, a Catholic priest who lived in Rome in the 3rd Century. There are many stories about St Valentine and over time these stories grew into the legend we know today.
At the time of Valentine’s life, many Romans were converting to Christianity, but the Emperor Claudius II was a pagan and created strict laws about what Christians were allowed to do. Claudius believed that Roman soldiers should be completely devoted to Rome and therefore passed a law preventing them from marrying. St Valentine began to marry these soldiers in secret Christian ceremonies and this was the beginning of his reputation for believing in the importance of love.
Eventually Valentine was found out and jailed for his crimes against Claudius. While imprisoned, Valentine cared for his fellow prisoners and also his jailor’s blind daughter. Legend has it that Valentine cured the girl’s blindness and that his final act before being executed was to write her a love message signed ‘from your Valentine’. Valentine was executed on 14 February in the year 270.
Interesting Facts about Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is celebrated every year. From its bloody origins to its sweet, chocolaty modern day traditions, these are some interesting facts that we have to know:
- About 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year. This makes it the second largest seasonal card sending time of the year.
- Meant as an alternative to Valentine’s Day, the holiday is for single people to celebrate or to commiserate in their single status.
- Many believe the X symbol became synonymous with the kiss in medieval times. People who couldn’t write their names signed in front of a witness with an X. The X was then kissed to show their sincerity.
- Girls of medieval times ate bizarre foods on this day to make them dream of their future spouse.
- In the middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear this name pinned onto their sleeves for one week for everyone to see. This was the origin of the expression “to wear your heart on your sleeve.”
- 73 percent of people who buy flowers on this day are men, while only 27 percent are women.
- Red roses are considered the flower of love because the color red stands for strong romantic feelings.
- Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all gifts on this holiday.
- Teachers will receive the most Valentine’s Day cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, sweethearts and pets.
- 220,000 is the average number of wedding proposals on Valentine’s Day each year.
Red roses were the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. Red is also a color that signifies strong feelings.
In Roman mythology, Cupid is the god of desire, affection, and erotic love. Cupid today appears shooting his bow to inspire romantic love.
It is unclear the origin of the familiar heart shape used for Valentine’s celebration. One possibility involves the now-extinct North African plant silphium. The city-state of Cyrene had a lucrative trade in the plant, which looks just like the heart shape used in modern times.
 “History of Valentine’s Day”, available online at: http://www.theholidayspot.com/valentine/history_of_valentine.htm
 Sameen Imtiaz, “25 Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know About Valentine’s Day”, available online at: https://list25.com/25-interesting-facts-valentines-day/
 “Valentine’s Day 14 February”, available online at: https://www.rosesonly.com.au/what-is-valentines-day