The Origins of Valentine’s Day

January 15, 2013 Leave a reply

Valentine’s Day may not be your typical “holiday” because people still report to work and students have classes if it falls on a weekday. But it is one of the most celebrated occasions around the world.

We know what Valentine’s Day is about—everything that connotes “love”. But do we know what its origins are?

There are many versions and stories about St. Valentine’s and how the feast day was named in his honor. According to one story, Valentine was a Catholic priest who was thrown to jail for his teachings. It was a time when Roman emperors still mandated the people to believe in Roman gods.

While Valentine was in jail, his jailer, Asterius approached him with his blind daughter. He asked Valentine to restore his daughter’s sight—which Valentine successfully did with his miraculous power fueled by strong faith. On the day of his execution, Valentine wrote a farewell message to the girl, containing the words, “From your Valentine.” Valentine was beheaded on February 14, 270 AD—the day that we now celebrate as the month of love.

Another version of St. Valentine’s story was about a bishop of the same name who administered secret marriages against the order of the Roman emperor.

The feast of St. Valentine was first declared by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD, who considered him among those “… whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.”

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