Origin of Valentine's Day
February 9, 2007 7:58pm CST
The origin of Valentine's Day isn't agreed upon by historians. Some experts say it actually originated with ST. Valetine, a Roman martyred for refusing to give up Christianity. He died on February 14, 269 A.D. Legend also says that ST. Valetine left a farewell note for the jailer's daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it "From Your Valentine". Other versions of the story say that St. Valetine served as a priest at the temple during the reing of Emperor Claudius. Claudius then had valentine jailed for defying him. In 496 A.D. Pope Gelasius set aside february 14 to honour St. Valentine. Gradually, February 14 became the date for exchanging love messages and St. Valentine became the patron saint of lovers. The date was marked by sending poems and simple gifts such as flowers. There was often a social gathering or a ball. In the US a certain Miss Esther Howland is given credit for sending the first valentines. Commercial valentines were introduced in the 1800's, and further commercialized throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
• United States
10 Feb 07
You can go back even further, to the Roman fertility rights of Lupercalia, which took place on February fourteenth. As with most other Christian celebrations, Valentine's day just happens to have a similar holiday of Roman origin on the exact same day. I believe the holiday is a melding of both Roman tradition and Christian folklore, capitalized on by the Victorians and the greeting card industry,