Many people say that Valentine’s day is a holiday that doesn’t really make sense—that it’s just a thing that was invented by a greeting card company to gain more profit, that it’s something that wastes roses and is behind the reason why restaurants have to be so packed at this time of the year.
However, for most people, it cannot be denied that the warm and fuzzy feeling that this day brings is something that makes them feel good, therefore making the holiday a success. Indeed, Valentine’s day is something that many lovers and romantics look forward to—for them, this day is something that is worth celebrating. How long have people been celebrating this day, you ask? Keep reading and we’ll tell you some of the legends behind it.
There are many stories behind the history of Valentine’s day, but one of the most important is the one that happened in Rome. During the time of the Roman Empire, a story about love and war was said to have molded this day. Named after martyr Saint Valentine (the name “Valentine” was derived from the word valens, which means worthy, strong, and powerful), this celebration was not always about greeting cards, huge chocolate boxes, and flowers.
The story goes like this: Emperor Claudius II needed soldiers to join the military. This proved to be quite a difficult task as many of the men who were supposed to be in the army did not want to leave their loved ones. Emperor Claudius did not like this–he felt that the men were too emotionally attached to the ones they love, and because of this, it made them weaker and therefore would not succeed in battle. Because of this, he decided to ban marriages so he’ll have more soldiers who will be focused on what they’re tasked to do.
No one was brave enough to protest against this decision, so the lives of lovers struggled–even if they wanted to get married, they couldn’t, because the emperor said so. However, there was one man who thought that banning marriages was a bad idea and felt that love is something that one must simply not hide.
Valentine, a Roman priest (who will be later called St. Valentine) performed wedding ceremonies to many lovers, blessing them and allowing them to be together in the sacrament of matrimony. This secret, however, was not able to remain hidden for very long, as Claudius found out about it. Valentine was arrested, which eventually led to a sentence of execution. According to historians, he was executed on February 14, in 270 AD.
Ever wondered where the phrase “From Your Valentine” came from? According to legend, this was a line that was written by St. Valentine before he was executed. According to historians, Valentine got close to the daughter of his jailor Asterius. He already had a death sentence at this point, so it was very difficult for the both of them. Before his execution, Valentine wrote a letter to the girl and signed “From Your Valentine.” He was eventually executed, but the things he did and believed in clearly lived on.
Another angle that many historians believe in is the connection of Valentine’s day to Geoffrey Chaucer, who they say is one of the people who created an association between the day and the concept of romance. Studies say that in medieval England and France, the birds used to mate during February 14, and so Chaucer used the birds as symbols for love in his writings.
Which version do you prefer after reading these stories? Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s day at the Tower Bridge in London, beneath the Eiffel Tower or watching a cabaret show in Paris, or perhaps in a cafe in Glasgow; there will definitely be some sparks flying on this special day.
For this year, Glasgow will be filled with lots of fun events, such as the St. Valentine’s Party with Angerfist, a party that will keep you moving on the dance floor all night long. If partying is not your thing, you can also go an watch a remarkable full symphony orchestra at the Main Auditorium of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, which will feature the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
If you’re in London on the 14th of February this year, you will be fascinated with the Red Rose Experience at the London Eye, which offers an amazing view of the city, and of course the staple chocolate rose. If you want to spoil your partner with more chocolates, you can head over to shops like Rococo Chocolates, Hotel Chocolat, and the Chocolate Wonderland by Cocomaya at Liberty.
There are so much more legends behind Valentine’s day, so you have lots of versions to choose from and believe in. But in any case, it cannot be denied that this day is special, that no matter how cynics refuse to believe in it, romantics all over the world still know that it makes them happy, just like those couples in ancient Rome who did everything to show and declare their love to one another.