Valentine's Day - a day that celebrates
love, romance, passion in every way, the world over. It is also
a holiday where people honor friendship, affection, and love for
others. Valentine's Day is named after Saint Valentine, the patron
saint of love, and is celebrated on February 14th every year.
Day is named in the memory of St. Valentine of Rome. Emperor Claudius
II arrested him for helping Christian martyrs. Saint Valentine also
became the patron saint of lovers as the church assimilated the
fertility festival Lupercalia into their calendar
What we call
Valentine's Day was at one time the Feast of St. Valentine. It was
a religious holiday. According to church tradition St. Valentine
was a priest near Rome in about the year 270 A.D. At that time the
Roman Emperor was imprisoning Christians for not worshipping the
Roman gods. During this persecution Valentine was arrested for refusing
to give up Christianity.
to pray to Jesus and spread the love of Christianity, while he was
in prison. He was said to have restored the sight of a jailor's
blind daughter, when the emperor heard about this he was furious
that Valentine was still making converts even in prison, so he had
He died on February
14, 269 A.D. Legend also says that St. Valentine left a farewell
note for the jailer's daughter, who had become his friend, and signed
it "From Your Valentine".
The 14th of February was one day before the
Roman feast of Lupercalia, a pagan love festival. In 496 A.D. Pope
Gelasius changed Lupercalia from the 15th to the 14th to try and
stop the pagan celebration. The church realized that there was nothing
wrong with celebrating love, only the pagan elements insulted God.
Lupercalia was done away with, but it had left it's mark on Saint
Valentine's Day. Valentine had become known as the patron of lovers.
Part of the Roman festival of Lupercalia was
the putting of girl's names in a box and letting the boys draw them
out. These couples were supposedly paired off for the whole year.
A similar practice was began in the fourteenth century. A sweetheart
was chosen for a day by lot. This was done to correspond with the
belief that the springtime mating of birds took place on Valentine's
Day. Messages sent between these randomly chosen pair were a forerunner
of the modern Valentine's Day Card. Specially printed card for Valentine's
were just becoming common by the 1780's. They were a big hit in
Germany where they were called Freundschaftkarten, or "friendship
- Britannica CD 98 ® Multimedia Edition, "Saint
Valentine", (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 1994 - 1997),
© 1994 - 1997 Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.
- Saint Germain, 1967, Pearls of Wisdom ®, Volume 10 Number 7 (The Summit Lighthouse ®, 1967)
© Copyright 1997 Church Universal and Triumphant ®
- Sandak, Cass R., Valentine's
Day, (New York, New
York: Crestwood House, 1990)