With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I thought this would be a good time to find out why we celebrate the holiday. According to Wikipedia, the holiday was observed by the Catholic Church in order to honor Saint Valentine. There are several rumors about the identity of Saint Valentine. Some say there are more than one. It is believed one Saint Valentine was a priest in Rome, one a bishop of Interamna, and one possibly from the Roman province of Africa. It is rumored they all died on February 14 as martyrs. The feast day of Saint Valentine was removed from the Catholic calendar in 1969 because of the lack of information available on Saint Valentine, but is still celebrated world wide.
Saint Valentine wasn’t associated with any romantic elements until the fourteenth century. Some believe a poem written by Geoffrey Chaucer in 1382 first linked the day with romantic love. In the earlier Valentine’s Day celebrations, romantic notes were exchanged instead of greeting cards.
The popularity of mass produced greeting cards increased during the 19th century. Approximately one billion valentines are now sent every year and it is currently the second largest holiday for greeting cards. By now, Valentine’s Day isn’t really about Saint Valentine. It is a day where we are reminded we should take a moment to show those around us we care about them.