What’s The Story About Saint Valentine’s Day ?
In short. A third century roman saint commemorated 14th February. There are several stories , mostly legends without exact historical evidence, about the person of San Valentino, Saint Valentine. The roman catholic church alone holds records of several Valentines and there are different versions of the events around his (or hers) life. One refers to a roman priest in the third century, another to a former bishop of Terni, Umbria, who lived around 450, another again to a spanish hermit from 7th century and one to a virgin Saint Valentina, who was martyred around 380 in Palestine. Martyred means killed. That gives a whole new dimension to the ‘sweet Valentine’ we know and celebrate. Not to talk about the blue valentines…however the stories of the Valentine(s) contribute each in their own way to what we today consider the celebration of the romantic love.
There is the legend of a roman priest who secretly married young couples, saving the young men from going to war. It was believed that bachelors were better soldiers, while the married men were worrying about getting back home to their families. The priest was captured for his practise that was considered against the order of the society.
Another story is about a christian priest who was imprisoned for his belief. While in prison, he restored his capturer’s blind daughter’s sight. The judges were amazed by the miracle, underwent baptism and let the priest go free. But later on also this Valentine was martyred. Then celebrated as a saint.
There was a Valentine, who was held prison, and who shortly before his death, passes a written message to the judges daughter, writing ‘from your Valentine’. This message of love (altruistic or passionate is unknown) was a gesture that later on gave birth to the ‘valentines card’, romantic hand made cards that became popular in the 18th century England. That’s how we got the valentine’s days cards, the most popular greeting cards ever invented.
Saint Valentine as a festivity has its origins in a pagan celebration Lupercalia, around 13th – 14th February, the feast of the roman ‘faunus’, that celebrated also the nature’s awakening. It was believed that the birds were coupling this period. In the high middle ages the feast was associated with the celebration of the courtly love and with time it was bound to the legendary stories of the Saint Valentine(s) and linked to the romantic love poetry in 15th century England. Today Saint Valentine is widely considered as the patron of lovers, celebrated by the whole western world.
Names Valentino, Valentina have significance strong and valuable.
Oh my poor, sweet, blue Valentine!