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The Christian Martyr who Inspired Valentine’s Day

February 7th, 2023

Valentine’s Day, as we celebrate it today, is said to come from a man named Valentine, a priest and physician who suffered martyrdom during the persecution of Christians by the Roman emperor Claudius II in ancient Rome.  

As the story goes, Claudius II banned marriage because he thought unmarried men made better soldiers. 

But Valentine thought this was unfair and decided to defy the emperor and perform Christian marriages in secret. But he was eventually caught and later killed on February 14 of the year 270 A.D. 

Right before he died, Valentine supposedly wrote the first-ever “valentine” to his jailer’s daughter, with whom he’d fallen in love. Later, in the 5th century, Pope Gelasius I declared the day of his death as St. Valentine’s Day.

The custom of sending cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts originated in the United Kingdom, 

In Norfolk, England, a character called 'Jack' Valentine was said to knock on the rear door of houses leaving sweets and presents for children. Although he was leaving treats, many children were scared of this mystical person. 

In Slovenia, Saint Valentine also known as Zdravko, was one of the saints of spring, the saint of good health and the patron of beekeepers and pilgrims. 

 A proverb says that "Saint Valentine brings the keys of roots" as many plants and flowers start to grow on this day. It has been celebrated as the day when the first work in the vineyards and in the fields commences. It is also said that birds propose to each other or marry on Valentine’s Day. Another proverb says Valentine marks the beginning of spring. 

Valentine's Day has only recently been celebrated as the day of love. But for many who celebrate it today, it remains an excuse to eat chocolate, without feeling guilty!

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