Happy Valentine’s Day 2019! What is the true history behind Saint Valentine? - Evewoman

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Happy Valentine’s Day 2019! What is the true history behind Saint Valentine?

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It's the most romantic day of the year, and a time to show your loved one just how much they mean to you.

People will celebrate Valentine's Day today with flowers, chocolate and declarations of love, as it's come to be.

Some people love, it some people hate it, but do you know the true story behind Valentine's Day?

To celebrate this 14 February, here's everything you need to know about the history of Valentine's Day and how it came to be:

What is the true history behind Saint Valentine?

While there are various Christian saints by the name of Valentine, the most famous is probably Saint Valentine of Rome.

Born in Umbria, Italy in 226 AD, Valentine was a priest at the time of the Roman Empire.

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Legend says that the Roman army had been forbidden to marry, as the emperor, Claudius, believed that married men did not make good soldiers.

Valentine strongly disagreed with this ban and would perform secret weddings for Christian soldiers.

He was eventually discovered, arrested and executed in 269 AD.

Another legend suggests that Valentine was actually arrested for helping persecuted Christians to escape from prison in Rome.

While he was imprisoned himself, he fell in love with a young woman - believed to be the jailer's daughter - who would visit him in his cell.

On the day of his execution Valentine left this woman one final love letter signed, 'From your Valentine'.

When did Valentine's Day start?

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Pope Gelasius I established Saint Valentine's Day in 496 AD, but it was initially just a Christian feast day.

The 14 February didn't come to be associated with romantic love until much later.

In his 1375 poem 'Parliament of Foules', Geoffrey Chaucer described the 14 February as the day that birds found their mate: "For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate."

It's believed to be the first time that the Valentine's Day feast was linked to romantic love.

When did Valentine's Day become commercial?

While Valentine's Day was around in the Middle Ages, it didn't become really popular until the early 19th century.

Valentine's day cards took off, and - with the invention of the postage stamp - people began to send them anonymously. Racy messages and poems became common, as did increasingly elaborate designs.

Today, over 25 million Valentine's Day cards are sent annually in the UK, and over 190 million in the USA.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Evewoman.co.ke

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