1. The Real Saint Valentine Is Shrouded In Mystery
Although he lived in the third century AD, nearly nothing is known about this saint or the life he led. It’s not even clear how many holy men named Valentine there have been, or which one is honored on Valentine’s Day.
Regardless, bits and items concerning the saint have made it into the realm of legends. The consensus is that he was a priest who broke the law doing what he believed in. Some stories say he carried out marriages between soldiers and their beloveds. In Rome throughout that point, this was towards the law. Soldiers were not allowed to marry. When Valentine was caught, he was imprisoned and put to dying for defying Roman rules.
One other story additionally includes his imprisonment, but this time for working towards his faith and refusing to worship the emperor. While in jail, he grew to become friends with the jailer’s daughter. He prayed for her, and he or she was healed of her maladies. On the night of his execution, Valentine gave his friend a note to comfort her. It read, quite simply, “From Your Valentine.”
2. Matchmaking Was An Historic Roman Tradition That Preceded Valentine’s Day
Lupercalia was a festival that took place each year in historical Rome between the 13th and 15th of February. Its objective was to cleanse and protect the community. Some of the festival traditions were meant to do away with evil spirits and bless crops.
There was also a matchmaking component to the festivities. Women put their names in an urn. Men picked names from the urn. The couples formed by this lottery system were expected to stay together for a year. Surprisingly, many of those random matches resulted in marriages.
Centuries later, this historic celebration merged with the newer tradition of honoring Saint Valentine on February 14. The newer vacation was much more subdued, however among the festival’s romantic aspects carried forward.
3. Valentine Cards Turned All The Rage In Victorian England
In the Middle Ages, noblemen wrote (or hired others to write for them) impassioned love notes to their dear ones. But it wasn’t till the Victorian Period in the mid-1800s that sending valentine cards turned a preferred custom.
First it was handmade cards embellished with lace and ribbon. These were fancy cards with intricate designs that included cutouts and pop-ups. The tradition was popularized in England and made its way to the U.S. a number of decades later.
With advances in printing technology, cards started to be mass-produced. Right this moment one hundred eighty million valentine cards are exchanged every year in the U.S. alone. Designs proceed to evolve, however heart and floral themes remain as well-liked as they had been in Victorian times.
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