Valentines Day flowers and candy

Happy Valentine’s Day

My entire life I’ve done this with about a million other things. I feel the need to better understand the backstory of how whatever it is came into existence. In light of that, I spent some time online today digging into the origins of why we say, “Happy Valentine’s Day” every year in February.

Began As A Religious Feast

Valentine’s Day began as Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine. The feast was first established by Pope Gelasius I. His intentions were to honor one or two saints named Valentinus for being martyred on February 14.

February 14 is when we celebrate Valentine’s Day. Although some enjoy it as the celebration of love, others reject it as a materialistic commercialized holiday. 

Valentine’s Day started with a connection to Christianity but there is a lot of information to wade through to find the truth. The details within the stories connecting it to Christianity are difficult to prove.

Nevertheless, Valentine’s Day is connected to Christianity, but not solely.

Christian Connection To Valentine’s Day

Those familiar with this religious connection believe there to be a single man, but there were actually three saints bearing the name Valentine or Valentinus. Two were from Italy and one was from Africa. Two were clearly beheaded, while the third one’s martyrdom is considered by many to be merely folklore.

One Valentine’s story is that he was a temple priest who was imprisoned for ministering to Christians when they were being persecuted by the Roman empire. While in prison, he fell in love with a young woman (possibly the jailer’s daughter) and sent her a farewell note from “Your Valentine” before his execution. Another version of the story adds that the young woman was blind, and Valentine healed her, while other stories leave that part out.

Another Valentine’s story says that Valentine was beheaded for performing secret weddings when Emperor Claudius had outlawed them for young soldiers.

And yet another story: Valentine was a priest who was arrested, but instead of being put in jail, he was put into the custody of an aristocrat named Asterius. After hearing Valentine speak, he challenged him about the validity of Christ. He bargained with him to heal his for Asterius to believe. Valentine healed her and they all got baptized. After Emperor Claudius II found out, he had Valentine killed.

Love Birds

How Valentine’s Day became connected with romantic love is said to be due to a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer. In 1375, he wrote “Parliament of Foules” connecting romantic love to the beginning of mating season for birds (mid-February). He wrote, “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day — Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.” This is where the term “love birds” began.

During that time in history, courtly love flourished, and couples took the occasion to express their love in the form of flowers, candies, and cards (valentines)?

Interesting Valentine’s Day Facts

  • Passing out Valentine’s is a 600-year-old tradition.
  • Esther Howland is the first manufacturer of Valentine’s.
  • Today, millions of greeting cards are purchased every year.
  • People consider pink and red the colors of love.
  • Candy hearts were originally medical lozenges.
  • Wearing your heart on your sleeve is more than just a phrase.
  • The candies got their iconic shape much later.
  • The heart shape wasn’t always a romantic symbol.
  • Cupid’s bow and arrow aren’t just for show.
  • Roses are the flowers of love.
  • The chocolate box has been around for more than 140 years.
  • See the full list of facts at Woman’s

[Portions of this article were used with permission from]


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