Have you ever thought how 14th February got to be celebrated as Valentine’s Day? The legend goes that there was a saint/priest called Saint Valentine who served as a priest in Rome during 3rd century.
Red flowers, greeting cards proclaiming love, gifts and mushy romance. Today Valentine’s Day is all about mushy romance and love! However, surprising as this may sound, this romantic day is supposedly based on a legend that has a bloody history.
Have you ever thought how 14th February got to be celebrated as Valentine’s Day? The legend goes that there was a saint/priest called Saint Valentine who served as a priest in Rome during 3rd century. During that time, Emperor Claudius II banned marriage for young single men as he considered single men to be better and more efficient soldiers than those married with wives and children.
Valentine, considering this law as unjust and unfair, defied Claudius and performed wedding rituals for young soldiers in secrecy who were forbidden to marry. However, soon Valentine’s actions were discovered that didn’t go down too well with the Emperor and the golden-hearted priest was put to death. He was killed around AD 496 and was buried on the Via Flaminia in Rome. People started regarding him in deep respect and honored him as a Saint and called him a martyr.
Another legend goes that Valentine was executed because he attempted to help Christians flee from Roman prisons where they were brutally tortured and severely beaten.
Another belief is that Valentine fell in love with a young girl while he was in prison. The young girl was a jailor’s daughter who used to visit him while he was in detention. It is said, that before his death, Valentine sent a letter to the young girl signing “From your Valentine.”
There is a contradictory belief that states that their friendship was platonic one. Valentine used to teach the little girl called Julia, daughter of his jailer Asteriusa, She was blind and he used to teach her about the history of Rome, arithmetic and nature. Upon his death, Julia planted an almond tree near his grave. And today almond tree is known to symbolize friendship and love.
There are several legends around the mystery of St. Valentine. However one fact is sure that St. Valentine was a kindhearted, noble, sympathetic man who was deeply regarded and respected. Over a period, St. Valentine become one of the most popular saints in France and England.
In England, Valentine’s Day began to be celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th century, Valentine’s Day was commonly celebrated among lovers and friends as they exchanged handwritten notes. By 19th century, printed Valentine cards were begun to be used. Today Valentine’s Day is celebrated all over the world as a day symbolizing love and romance. Gift shops and florists go into the overdrive to handle the buyers rush and the popular hang-out zones become the hotspots for a “Valentine’s Day Out”. Malls, movie theaters and the city’s green belts are usually the favourite spots for couples looking to enjoy some time together on Valentine’s Day.
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