Around the world February 14th is celebrated with candy, gifts, and flowers being exchanged between loved ones. Due to the patron Saint Valentine, February has long been celebrated as the month of love and romance.
Saint Valentine’s Day contains both Christian and Roman traditions. There are many legends surrounding Saint Valentine, and the Catholic Church recognizes three martyred saints named Valentine. Like many of the roman pagan traditions, during February, the Roman’s celebrated Lupercalia on February 15th, and so it is believed the church tried to Christianize the pagan tradition by claiming Saint Valentine’s Day on February 14th. At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius declared February 14th Saint Valentine’s Day.
By the Middle Ages, Valentine’s greetings were exchanged, but not in the form of handwritten letters until the 1400’s. The oldest known valentine written was a poem by Charles Amboise, the Duke of Orleans, to his wife. He wrote his Valentine’s poem to her while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
Valentine’s is celebrated in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day became popular around the 17th century. By the 18th century, it was common for loved ones to exchange tokens of affection or notes. By the 20th century, printed cards began to replace handwritten letters. According to the Greeting Card association, an estimated one billion cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day second to Christmas when it comes to card giving.
However you decide to spend your Valentine’s Day, do so with love in your heart and your day will be special. There’s certainly something special about having an entire day dedicated to spend with the ones you love.