It’s coming to that time again – St Valentines Day!!! A day when you can express your love and indeed find out if you truly are loved by that special someone. It can of course also be a day when those of us without that special person can feel very lonely!
We all know and recognise the customs that we relate to valentines day. The giving of cards, often anonymous, as well as presents and gifts of jewellery, chocolates and flowers.
Many people use this special day to get on one knee and propose marriage.
It is also the day to declare your unrequited or undeclared love to the object of your affection.
But where did it all begin, how was it that February 14th was proclaimed to be a day for romance and flowers and chocolates… not to mention the highlight of a restaurants trading year!
There are varying theories with two major front runners for the real Saint.
The first is a priest from around 270AD who was was given notoriety when he secretly married young lovers in spite of a ruling by Emperer Claudius that any engagements or marriages should be outlawed.
Claudius believed romance was the cause for his depleting army as more and more young soldiers refused to travel to war for fear of missing their loved ones.
So the priest named Valentine became the friend of romantic couples throughout Rome as he defied this ruling and continued to practice the romantic love ceremonies.
When his actions were eventually found out he was thrown into a dungeon where he was to breath his last.
During his stay in the dungeon, many young lovers came to see Valentine and sent flowers and messages of love to him. Thus he became a symbol of love and romance. He is thought to have died in that dungeon on 14th February hence his historical connection with the Valentines day we celebrate today.
Our second contender for the real St Valentine lived in the same period and was a Bishop named Valentine. He was famed for ignoring a ban on Christianity and helping fellow Christians to escape capture.
He is also thought to have attracted the wrath of Emperer Claudius II which led to his death on February 14th 270AD.
Whilst he was incarcerated, he is believed to have cured the Jailers daughter of her blindness, widely thought to have been a miracle. He is also thought to have sent messages of love to this lady, perhaps the very first valentines day gift of history.
Whichever the truth, and there is no solid evidence on which to rely, the day which commemorates the death of a romantic saviour is now a day for lovers everywhere.
So if you are alone why not take the chance and use this special day to tell your valentine of your true feelings, send a card or a small gift – a token of your affection. You never know maybe you could be the next love lorn person that that ancient hero Valentine unites in love.