Valentine's day is celebrated as the day of love, the most beautiful and strongest feeling in the world. The air feels magical these days with all the celebration, filled with thrill, excitement, and most importantly love.
Though many folklores and stories are told about the origin of valentines, the exact origin remains unknown. However, it is believed that it is celebrated as an honor to St.Valentine who attended martyrdom in the third century.
One legend identifies Valentine as a priest of the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II refrained man from marrying as single men were supposed to make better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered him death. Still, others insist that it was Saint Valentine of Terni, a bishop, who was the true namesake of the holiday. He, too, was beheaded by Claudius II outside Rome.
Other stories point out that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often tortured and beaten to death. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl, supposed to be his jailor’s daughter, who routinely visited him during his imprisonment. It is believed that he addressed the letter as “From your Valentine,” an expression of love that is used to date. Whatever the legends may be, every story related to Valentine's is a tale of heroism, love, compassion, and sacrifice.
At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. It was not much later that the day became associated with love. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, rose the idea that the middle of February should be a day for romance. The English poet Geoffrey Chaucer was the first to record St. Valentine’s Day as a day of romantic celebration in his 1375 poem “Parliament of Foules,” writing, “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh there to choose his mate.”
The poets including William Shakespeare later glorified Valentines' day as the day of love, whose poems are taken as the embodiment of love itself.
However, these days Valentine's day is commercialized, marked by the tradition of gift-giving as a symbol of love. Throughout the week, roses, chocolates, teddies, cards are exchanged which contributes billions to those industries.
However, the celebration of Valentine is up to us. No matter how we celebrate it, it's all about carrying on the centuries of tradition and making our loved ones feel special, appreciated, and above all loved.