Extracted from 2 websites. How true? Don't know....
Origin of Valentine's Day began in Ancient Rome, February 14th was a holiday to honor Juno, Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses.
In Ancient Rome, February 14th was a holiday to honor Juno, Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Feast of Lupercalia started the next day.
During these times boys and girls were segregated. However, the young people had a custom that began on the eve of the Festival of Lupercalia. The girls names were written on pieces of paper and inserted into jars. Each boy then drew a girls name from the jar and they were partners throughout the Festival. After being paired, the children would often continue to see each other throughout the year and on occasion even fell in love and got married.
Emperor Claudius II of Rome, also known as Claudius the Cruel was having a difficult time recruiting men as soldiers. He believed that the men did not want to leave their sweethearts and cancelled all engagements and marriages throughout Rome. St. Valentine, a priest of Rome at the time, secretly married couples. He was eventually caught, arrested and condemned. He was beaten to death and beheaded on February 14th, around the year 270.
Lupercalia was a feast to a heathen God. Pastors and priests of the early Christian church did away with the pagan custom by replacing the names of the girls with the names of saints. They chose St. Valentines Day as the day of celebration for the new feast.
Valentines Day started in the time of the Roman Empire. Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II - Rome was involved in many bloody and unpopular military campaigns. Claudius the Cruel, as he was known at the time, was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed that the reason was that roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. As a result, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome.
This was when a Christian priest named Valentine came to defend love in the empire. Valentine began to secretly marry couples despite the emperors orders. When Emperor Claudius was informed of these ceremonies Valentine was sent to prison where he remained until his death on February 14 in the year 270.
It wasn't until a few hundred years later when Valentine's Day began to develop as we know it. At the time Christianity was beginning to take control of Europe.
As part of this effort the Church sought to do away with pagan holidays. Valentine's Day came to replace a mid-February fertility festival called Lupercalia. In honor of his sacrifice for love Valentine was made a saint and Lupercalia renamed in his honor.
Until today the tradition of honoring Valentine continues. The themes of love and fertility taken from the ancient meanings of the holiday have endured and evolved with our contemporary adaptations of its meanings.
Mmm.. Kevyan got the second part right. That should be the original reason for Valentine's day.
Valentine was a holy priest in Rome, who, with St. Marius and his family, assisted the martyrs in the persecution under Claudius II. He was apprehended, and sent by the emperor to the prefect of Rome, who, on finding all his promises to make him renounce his faith in effectual, commended him to be beaten with clubs, and afterwards, to be beheaded, which was executed on February 14, about the year 270. Pope Julius I is said to have built a church near Ponte Mole to he memory, which for a long time gave name to the gate now called Porta del Popolo, formerly, Porta Valetini. The greatest part of his relics are now in the church of St. Praxedes. His name is celebrated as that of an illustrious martyr in the sacramentary of St. Gregory, the Roman Missal of Thomasius, in the calendar of F. Fronto and that of Allatius, in Bede, Usuard, Ado, Notker and all other martyrologies on this day. To abolish the heathens lewd superstitious custom of boys drawing the names of girls, in honor of their goddess Februata Juno, on the fifteenth of this month, several zealous pastors substituted the names of saints in billets given on this day.
The Origin of St. Valentine
The origin of St. Valentine, and how many St. Valentines there were, remains a mystery. One opinion is that he was a Roman martyred for refusing to give up his Christian faith. Other historians hold that St. Valentine was a temple priest jailed for defiance during the reign of Claudius. Whoever he was, Valentine really existed because archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Saint Valentine. In 496 AD Pope Gelasius marked February 14th as a celebration in honor of his martyrdom.
The first representation of Saint Valentine appeared in a The Nuremberg Chronicle, a great illustrated book printed in 1493. [Additional evidence that Valentine was a real person: archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Sai nt Valentine.] Alongside a woodcut portrait of him, text states that Valentinus was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius the Goth [Claudius II]. Since he was caught marrying Christian couples and aiding any Christians who were being persecuted under Emperor Claudius in Rome [when helping them was considered a crime], Valentinus was arrested and imprisoned. Claudius took a liking to this prisoner -- until Valentinus made a strategic error: he tried to convert the Emperor -- whereupon this priest was condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs and stoned; when that didn't do it, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate [circa 269].
Saints are not supposed to rest in peace; they're expected to keep busy: to perform miracles, to intercede. Being in jail or dead is no excuse for non-performance of the supernatural. One legend says, while awaiting his execution, Valentinus restored the sight of his jailer's blind daughter. Another legend says, on the eve of his death, he penned a farewell note to the jailer's daughter, signing it, "From your Valentine."
St. Valentine was a Priest, martyred in 269 at Rome and was buried on the Flaminian Way. He is the Patron Saint of affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, young people. He is represented in pictures with birds and roses.
For the legend, I'm not quite sure I remember correctly or not.. but the short version is something like this.
During Valentine's stay in prision, he continue to preach. The jailor's daughter, who was blind, went to see him as she is curious. They had some talks together and Valentine told her about God but the daughter did not really believe.. Even though the daughter did not believe, she had come to like Valentine and they became good friends.
It is said that at the time which Valentine was beheaded, the daughter gain her sight. Thus every year at Valentine's death anniversary. She would visit the grave and lay a rose on the tomb. :angel: