Valentine’s Day History

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Across the US every February, flowers, candy and gifts are given to loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. Why do we celebrate this holiday and who is this puzzling saint? The history of Valentine’s Day and its patron saint is somewhat a mystery. February has long been a month of romance and Valentine’s Day, as it is known today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.

One legend has it that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men — his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been murdered helping Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.

According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first ‘valentine’ greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl, perhaps it was the jailor’s daughter, who visited him during his sentence. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed ‘From your Valentine,’ an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, all of the stories emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It’s no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.

Remember, if you're shopping Tucson jewelers for Valentine’s Day gifts or are ready for an engagement ring and bridal jewelry, please keep me in mind and view my two minute video: The Secret: Why Guys Buy Diamonds from MKPJ. And you can learn about my pricing and process. Happy New Year! Maury

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