The Origin of Valentine’s Day



A third-century Saint Valentine.

Sydney Feamster, Staff Writer

The Origin of Valentine’s Day is actually a bit of a mystery. In different religions, Valentine’s Day has many different stories. There are also many legends about Valentine’s Day. We know Valentine’s Day as a holiday where we show our love and affection to our partners by giving them gifts like chocolates, flowers, and candies. The holiday wasn’t always about gifts, however. In the third century, the Catholic Church believed that there were at least three different saints named Valentine, who all were martyred. 

During this time Emperor Claudius II decided that men who did not have wives and families would make better soldiers. Claudius took it upon himself to outlaw the right to marriage for young men. A physician and priest named Valentine realized that outlawing marriage for young men was wrong, so he decided to keep performing marriages in secret. When Claudius caught Valentine, he ordered Valentine to be killed.

Other stories say that Valentine was killed for trying to help Christians escape from a Roman prison where the Christians were killed and tortured. Another legend claims that an imprisoned Valentine sent the very first valentine after falling in love with a girl who may have been his jailer’s daughter.

There is no accurate origin of Valentine’s Day but all the stories and legends are unique in their own way and shed light on our modern traditions like sending your love a valentine on February 14, the Christian feast day set aside hundreds of years ago to honor St. Valentine.