On February 14th, Valentine’s Day is celebrated across many cultures and many countries across the planet. On this holiday, people will exchange gifts to their romantic interest. This holiday has become one of the most popular, with almost $27 billion predicted to be spent on the holiday this year, according to the National Retail Federation. The origins of Valentine’s Day goes back millennia to a priest in the Roman Empire.
There has been some controversy on who was the real Saint Valentine. Some accounts state that the real Saint Valentine was a Christian persecuted at the hands of the Roman Emperor Claudius II Gothicus around the year 270. Other accounts detail him as a bishop of a town in Italy who was martyred in Rome. According to legend, St. Valentine secretly married couples to prevent the husbands from going to war, going against an edict given out by the emperor. The legends have led to Saint Valentine being declared a patron saint of the Roman Catholic Church, with February 14th being his feast day. He is not just the saint of lovers. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, he is also the patron saint of epileptics and beekeepers.
Officially, the saint that we celebrate on Valentines Day is called Saint Valentine of Rome in order to separate him from the other Valentines. There have been about a dozen martyrs that carried the name Valentine, according to the Roman Catholic Church. For 40 days in the 9th century AD, there was even a Pope Valentine.
Even though Valentine’s Day is usually celebrated on February 14th, it is also celebrated at different times at the year. This is due to the abundances of Saint Valentine’s on the list. November 3rd is the feast day of Saint Valentine of Viterbo. The first Saint Valentine’s Day celebration of the year is on January 7th, which is the feast day of Saint Valentine of Raetia. There was even a female Valentine, Valentina, who was martyred on on July 25th. The Eastern Orthodox Church, which is most popular in Russia, has two feast days for Saint Valentine. The first feast day is celebrated in honor the historic Saint Valentine on July 6, while the second feast day is celebrated in honor of the martyr on July 30.
Valentine’s Day is a popular holiday that has its roots in the Roman Empire. The legend of Saint Valentine, the saint of love, has grown over the years as Valentine’s Day has become to be known as the holiday of lovers.