Monday 13 February 2017

Who was Saint Valentine and How Did His Death Become All About Love?

By Cassandra Samuels

Happy Valentine's Day for tomorrow! Ahh, the most romantic day of the year for some of us. A day to celebrate love, whether it be potential or committed. But who is this St Valentine and how did all this Valentine's Day malarkey all come about?

Short history:

The truth surrounding the origin of Valentine's day is a little sketchy. One theory says that Valentine (a priest) conducted outlawed weddings during the third century in Rome. Weddings for soldiers had been banned as the Emperor Claudius II thought that unmarried men made better warriors. It is told that Claudius had Valentine killed when he discovered the outlawed marriages.

Another theory is that Valentine fell in love with a jailer's daughter while imprisoned for helping Christians escape said prison, and sent her love letters signed "from your Valentine." A phrase we still use today.

courtesy of Catholiconline

So why February 14th? The theory is that the Catholic church introduced a feast day in the middle of February in order to make the pagan celebration of Lupercalia (traditionally February 15th, and during which women were slapped with bloody goat skins for fertility) more Christian. It was moved to the 14th after the pagan celebration was outlawed at the end of the fifth century.

Lupercalia courtesy of

In the middle ages, it was thought that the 14th of February was the beginning of bird mating season. Mating season was when birds would compete for mates and indulge in the rituals of courtship. So it isn't hard to believe that people came to compare this time with courtship and love as well.

In the Victorian era, Valentine's Day was one to be savoured, and many spent a lot of time making or purchasing cards for their special someone.

Victorian Valentine's Day Card Courtesy of

I'd like to think we have moved on from whips made of bloody goat's hide and now prefer to wine and dine our lovers.

courtesy of

Or present flowers

Courtesy of HDimagesNew

and chocolate instead.

Courtesy of

Much nicer don't you think?

How do you like to celebrate Valentine's Day?

Love to Love sharing time with my hubby. I am one lucky gal.

Love to Laugh at my husband's dry wit. He always surprises me and makes me laugh.

Love to Learn how things are made - like yummy chocolate.


  1. Being slapped with bloody goat skins... hmm. Wine is definitely better!

    1. Totally agree Cathryn. There are some truly horrible fertility rituals when you look back through history.

  2. I had no idea about those bloody goat skins! Much prefer the hearts and flowers of today's customs. That's for such fascinating info about St Valentine, how interesting. Loved the little video of chocolate making as well. Hope everyone has a happy Valentine's Day.

    1. Sorry, meant to say *thanks for such fascinating info* ... always pays to proofread...!

    2. It was fascinating and I could have done a much longer post about it all. Interesting how the Pagan and Christian rituals and beliefs overlap too.

  3. Hi Cassandra! Thank goodness we've all moved on from some of those old traditions! I like to go out to lunch with my hubby on Valentine's Day and swap schmaltzy cards with him - the schmaltzier, the better. :)

  4. Hi Cassandra, I really enjoyed reading your post. My husband and I have been going out for Valentine's Day for 32 years. It's always great to have an excuse to celebrate with the one you love.

  5. Fascinating beginnings for Valentine's Day, Cassandra, but I do like how we've moved on to wine, chocolates and flowers. Much more romantic. That the day continues to be celebrated today proves romance and love are valued.


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