I always used to wonder: it’s nice to have a day of love, but where does the “Valentine’s” come in?
Well, I love history. And the story of things.
But I haven’t read extensively about Valentine’s Day, even though I volunteer at the library and put away lots of interesting books (though I’ve never seen a history of Valentine’s Day book. Well, there probably is one somewhere).
But the ever-helpful Wikipedia has information. Or legends. Really both.
This is what they say (in a nutshell): Valentine’s Day is a Christian holiday honoring three different martyrs named Valentine.
The first Valentine is Valentine of Rome, a priest who was martyred around AD 496 and buried on the ancient Roman road that led from Rome over the Apennine Mountains on the coast of the Adriatic sea, called the Via Flaminia, most of it still called by the original name.
Valentine of Terni (then Interamna, now Terni) became bishop about AD 197 and supposedly was martyred under Emperor Aurelian’s persecution. He is also buried on the Via Flaminia, though a different location than Valentine of Rome.
There is a third Valentine who was martyred in Africa with companions mentioned in early martyrologies. Not much known about him.
The more modern, Victorian-type Valentine’s celebration originated in England during the seventeen-hundreds. Then started the flowers, hearts, and chocolates, or chocolate hearts (that would do double-duty!).
And here we are today; ever since then, men have been spending their hearts out in celebration! Just kidding 🙂 Ever since then, we’ve decided to set aside the day to remember our fellow-man (or woman), to spread a little love to neighbors, friends, and the people we’re closest to: family.
Happy Valentine’s a little early 🙂