The history of Valentine’s Day

The history of Valentines Day

Jennica Chase, Reporter

Valentine’s Day occurs every February 14 across the United States and in other places around the world. Candy, gifts, flowers and chocolate are exchanged between loved ones in the name of St. Valentine.

There are many theories on how Valentine’s Day began, but the most noted one begins in Rome in the year 268. Emperor Claudius II wanted a fierce team of young men to fight in his armies. He found that when young men are in love or sharing their lives with a wife and children, they tended to be more cautious. To ensure large numbers of soldiers for his armies, Claudius outlawed marriage for those young men. Claudius may have outlawed love, but he could not stop it. Young men and women still fell in love and wanted to become couples in the eyes of the church. A brave—and obviously romantic—priest named Valentine thought the law was horribly unjust. Putting his life in danger, Valentine continued performing marriage ceremonies, doing so in secret and hidden from the eyes of authorities. Still, news of Valentine’s secret ceremonies made its way back to Claudius. The priest was found and put to death on, as some versions state, February 14. Centuries later, the Catholic Church made that kindly priest a saint, one of three saints named “Valentine.” No one knows exactly when St. Valentine’s Day was first celebrated, but there is a poem in existence that is considered to be the first ever written Valentine’s Day card. It was sent from a prisoner in the Tower of London to his wife in the year 1415.

Some countries have banned St. Valentine’s Day, but people in love show the courage of the doomed priest by celebrating the occasion. Repressive governments may confiscate all of the red roses available in the country. Still, no one can ever halt the flow of love and affection. Today’s click-and-post culture is tossing aside many old traditions and rules. Still, the history of Valentine’s Day lives on annually every February 14 in a worldwide celebration of love. Happy St. Valentine’s Day. Tell everyone in your heart how much they mean to you. And remember when you sign those cards how love and friendship lives on, even in the face of adversity.