Ten years ago if you had asked someone what Valentine’s meant to them they would…
Valentine’s Day is coming up soon, and you want to get your loved one something special. But you may have a better understanding of the holiday–and the gifts that are appropriate–when you know the history of Valentines Day. Once you know a little bit more about the day, you may be a lot more enthused about the holiday itself.
The history of Valentines starts with St. Valentine, who has been regarded as the patron saint of love. It is believed that the saint that the holiday is celebrated in honor of was a priest in the Roman Catholic church. During that time, the emperor, Claudius II, decided that single men made better soldiers for the army than those with wives and children. So, the emperor made marriage illegal. St. Valentine disagreed with this law, and continued to marry couples in secret. When his actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that St. Valentine be put to death. This is the central story surrounding the history of Valentines day, since it shows that this saint was willing to risk everything in the name of love.
There are other stories and accounts of these events that also suggest that St. Valentine was helping Christians to escape Roman prisons during this time. These Christians were often being brutally tortured for their beliefs, since they refused to submit to Roman rule. So, the history of Valentines day is regarded as a celebration as well. The work of this saint when it comes to helping those in need is another way to show love, which is why the holiday can be more than just romantic.
The history of Valentines is also associated with sending Valentine’s notes and cards. When the saint was imprisoned due to marrying couples in secret, he fell in love with a young girl that came to visit him often (she was believed to be the jailor’s daughter). He wrote her a letter and signed it, ‘from Valentine’. People follow this tradition now by giving cards to loved ones, or composing love notes that will be cherished for years. Children also exchange Valentine cards at school, and this is usually the first experience that children have with ‘puppy love.’
You can create your own history of Valentines with your own family by giving gifts that aren’t ‘the norm.’ Instead of giving flowers and chocolate, you can give your loved ones their favorite foods, or create a fruit display that is shaped like flowers. You can also take your family to a special dinner or picnic on Valentines day, so that your children can learn the value of celebrating love at an early age. Additional gift ideas can be found on sites like www.familycircle.org.