The History of Valentine's Day

By Robert Kirchgassner,

Thursday is Valentine’s Day, which is the best day of the year for some, and the worst for others. But here is how that holiday came to be.

The day is officially St. Valentine’s Day within Christianity. Indeed, many Christian saints have the name Valentine. One such saint was imprisoned during the age of the Roman Empire for performing weddings for soldiers, which was against Roman law. During his imprisonment, Valentine healed the daughter of his jailer. Before his execution, he supposedly wrote to her a farewell letter which concluded with "from your Valentine."

However, it was during the Middle Ages that the day’s link with romance was first established, when courtly love flourished throughout Europe. People who were spoken for began giving flowers and other gifts to their significant other each Feb. 14 by the 15th Century.

Four hundred years after that, greeting cards for the occasion began appearing in stores.

Today, over 190 million Valentine cards are sent in the U.S. each year, many of which are sent to children.

Some dislike the holiday either because they have yet to find a significant other, or feel that love should be expressed every day.

In any case, while it is not considered a national holiday (in other words, people still have to go to work that day), Valentine’s Day has a history as rich as Christmas or Easter.

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