February 14th is the day we openly show our love to the special people in our lives all in the name of St. Valentine. But did you ever wonder who Valentine was and how the tradition began?
One story says that Emperor Claudius II, having decided that single men made the best solders, declared it illegal for young males to marry. Valentine felt this was wrong and continued to perform these illegal marriages in secret. When Claudius discovered Valentine's actions, the Emperor ordered Valentine put to death.
In another version, Valentine was killed as he helped Christians escape tortuous Roman prisons.
Another legend says Valentine actually sent the first lovelorn greeting when he, himself, was a prisoner and fell in love with his jailer's daughter. He is said to have signed "From your Valentine," an expression still printed on billions of greeting cards to this day.
Whichever story is true, St. Valentine is always celebrated as a kind, compassionate—and most importantly—romantic hero.
But why February 14th? It could be that the celebration started to commemorate St. Valentine's death, which was most probably around AD 270. However, some might say that mid-February being the beginning of the mating season of birds might have had something to do with the chosen date. Makes great sense to me; nothing spells romance like listening to the chirps, warbles, and squawks of those procreatin' birds.
Now here are a couple of interesting facts…
· According to the Greeting Card Association, approximately one billion Valentine's Day cards are purchased each year, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday (bested only by Christmas).
· 85% of all valentine's are purchased by women. (What the heck is wrong with you men out there? Every February you're offered a prime opportunity to gain some precious lover-boy points and only 15% of the flippin' cards are purchased by you! Get with it, already.)
So now that we know who St. Valentine might have been and how the date might have been chosen... (I'm glad I could be so definitively informative) what special something will you do for that special someone in your life?