Valentine's day is a day of celebrating the one you love. It falls on February 14th of each year. More than 62% of Americans celebrate Valentine's day.
I was curious of the origins of this especially romantic day and decided to do a little research.
Valentine's day itself is named for a Christian martyr, Saint Valentinus (meaning worthy, strong or powerful), who was martyred on February 14 and dates all the way back to the 5th Century. He died around 270 AD. He is the patron saint of lovers, beekeepers and epilepsy. As well as the plague, travel, fainting, couples and happy marriages.
The skull of St. Valentus,which is adorned with flowers, can be found on display in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome. Other bits of his skeleton are on display in Czech Republic, Scotland, Ireland, England and France.
Some believe that Valentine's day was created by a midieval English poet by the name of Geoffrey Chaucer. (photo credit: Wikipedia)
He wrote in 1375 a work by the name of Parliament of Foules. In that piece he links romantic courtship with the feast of St. Valentine's day. Before this piece, the association of the two did not exist. It received widespread attention. The poem refers to this date as a day when humans and birds come together to find a mate. His exact words in the piece were "For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne's day/ Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate." That sentence may have invented the holiday we celebrate today.
There is actually more than one St. Valentine, almost 12 to be exact, including 1 woman and one Pope who served only 40 days around 827 AD. The most recent beatified St. Valentine was St. Valentine Berrio-Ochoa. He was a Spaniard of the Dominican order who traveled to Vietnam and served as bishop until he was beheaded in 1861. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1988.
Here are a list of days that you can actually celebrate St. Valentine's day:
1/7 - St Valentine of Raetia
2/14 - (see above)
11/3 - St Valentine of Viterbo
7/25- St. Valentina of Palestine
7/6 and 7/30- Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates the life of St. Valentine both as an elder and as a martyr.
Here are more facts about Valentine's day from History.com
Did you know, that on Valentine's day :
- Over 1 billion cards are exchanged (only 2nd to Christmas cards)
- More than 35 million heart shaped boxes of chocolate are exchanged
- More than 220 million roses are produced for this day
- Americans spend over 20 million dollars on Valentine's day ($130 per person)
- $4 billion is spent on jewelry for Valentine gifts
- 6 million couples are likely to get engaged on this day
I hope you enjoyed my brief History of Valentine's Day.
Disclosure: Information obtained from History.com