the continuation of Valentine’s Day to the olden Roman celebration of Lupercalia.Lupercalia was celebrated on the 15th of February each year.
The story of St. Valentine
In the year 270 AD, when Claudius II was the emperor of Rome, he inherited an empire which was heading towards disaster. Administration had reached an all-time low and taxation had reached an all-time high! Trade was in a slump and the economy was in shambles. The Roman Empire had grown too large, and it was proving difficult to hold on to it.
One of the first things Claudius did when he sat on the throne was to issue a dictate prohibiting marriage. The reason behind issuing this heartless law Claudius felt that married men were very emotional and were very attached to their families. As a result, not many of them were keen to become soldiers, and as for those soldiers who were already married – they did not display the ruthlessness and single-minded dedication of their unmarried counterparts. With pressure increasing on the boundaries of Rome, Claudius felt the need to resort to these drastic measures before the empire totally fell apart.
St. Valentine, a bishop at a Church close to Rome, resolved to help young lovers who wanted to seal their love with the bond of matrimony. His fame quickly spread amidst hushed tones, among the lovers of Rome. Once a couple had decided to get married, they would contact Valentine, arrange for a secret meeting, and he would then unite the couple and pronounce them man and wife.
Time passed, and eventually Claudius got wind of this friend of lovers. He had him arrested, and on the 14th February, he was executed.
Legend has it that before his execution, Valentine had fallen in love with the jailor’s daughter. She was blind, and through his miraculous healing powers, he restored her sight. On the day of his execution he asked for a pen and paper, on which he scribbled a farewell message and signed it ‘From Your Valentine’.
And the rest, as they say, is history.