True Story: Valentine’s Day
Editor’s Note: Emilio Chacon is the Editor in Chief of the Telegram and this piece is his opinion. This article does not reflect the official opinion of the Telegram Editorial Board.
Every February 14, the “holiday” known as Valentine’s Day is celebrated from coast to coast across the United States. Traditionally it is a time when lovers come together to express their love for each other. But the more recent stereotype is that Valentine’s Day is a time when the man in the relationship breaks the bank spending on his girlfriend.
A real question is: how did Valentine’s Day begin? Everyone knows how to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but many do not actually know where Valentine’s Day got its roots. Let’s take a look at the true story of Valentine’s Day.
Today, the Catholic Church officially recognizes the several saints known as Valentine, three to be specific. Now one may wonder which of these Saints is worthy of having February 14 declared in their honor.
One legend of Valentine’s Day traces all the way back to the third century A.D. when then Emperor of Rome, Claudius II, declared that single men would make far better soldiers than those tied down with a wife and kids. Following this decree, the first “Valentine”, decided to rebel against this decree and continued to marry young lovers in secret. Valentine continued this process until Claudius caught him and sentenced Valentine to death.
A different legend suggests that Valentine, while in prison, became smitten with a young lady, who may or may not have been the daughter of the jailer. It is rumor that Valentine sent the first “valentine” to this young lady before his death sentence was carried out. The popular phrase “From Your Valentine” also has its roots in this legend, as that is the alleged signature Valentine used on that “valentine”.
An alternate legend paints a picture of Valentine’s day that is neither as romantic nor emotional as Valentine’s love story, but is a little more odd.
The story goes that the Christian church chose the middle of February to remember the death of Valentine and festivals were held for this event. The festival would begin with the sacrificial slaughtering of a goat and in an even odder twist, the men of the city would run all over the town slapping the town’s women and crops with the goat hide. Yes, that is correct, the men would slap the crops…
Pope Gelasius I would later declare Valentine’s Day to be on February 14 around the year 490 A.D. and thus ended what shall now be known as the goat tradition.
And that is the latest known history of the day known as Saint Valentine’s Day.
And now it’s time for some fun facts!
- Esther A. Howland began selling mass valentines in the United States around the 1840′s.
- About 1 billion valentines are sent each year in the mail.
- Typically, teachers receive the majority of Valentine’s Day cards.
Facts and information for this article was provided by history.com and wikipedia.org