St Valentine’s Day is celebrated every year in many countries on the 14th of February.
You may know this as a day where loved ones exchange gifts such as flowers, chocolates and other gifts. But you may be wondering how the tradition of St Valentine began and who this mysterious saint was.
St Valentine’s Day does not have a clear history. The Catholic Church recognises that there were three saints named Valentine or Valentinus.
One legend explaining the origins of Valentine’s Day was that St Valentine was imprisoned and was writing the first valentine greeting to a girl, possibly the jailer’s daughter who visited him, whom he fell in love with. He signed this note “From your Valentine”.
Another legend involves a Bishop Valentine who defied the law of Emperor Claudius II that all young soldiers were to refrain from marriage in order to be better soldiers. However Bishop Valentine married the couples in secret, and later was put to death when the Emperor discovered the secret ceremonies.
Yet another legend explains that a Valentine helped Christians escape the difficult conditions of the Roman prisons.
Today, many gifts are exchanged on Valentine’s Day between couples. One popular gift is roses. Florists have a very large demand for red roses each February.
Red Roses are the traditional symbol for love and romance, and proclaim the message “I love you” to the receiver. This makes them a popular and traditional gift on Valentine’s Day.
Other Rose colour meanings are:
Pink – grace, gentleness, admiration and appreciation
Yellow – friendship, warmth and happiness
Lilac – love at first sight and enchantment
Orange – desire, enthusiasm, passion and excitement
White – truth, purity and innocence