There are varying opinions about the origin of Valentine’s Day. Some believe it originated from St. Valentine, a Roman who was martyred for refusing to give up Christianity. He died on February 14, 269 A.D., the same day that had been devoted to love lotteries. Legend also says that among the things St. Valentine refused to give up was marrying Christians in the Christian Church. On the day of his death, it was said that he left a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it “From Your Valentine”.
Other aspects of the story say that Saint Valentine served as a priest at the temple during the reign of Emperor Claudius. Claudius then had Valentine jailed for defying him. In 496 A.D. Pope Gelasius set aside February 14 to honor St. Valentine. Gradually, February 14 became the date for exchanging love messages, and St. Valentine became the patron saint of lovers. The date is still marked, to this day, by sending poems and simple gifts to your sweetheart.
In the United States, Miss Esther Howland is given credit for sending the first valentine cards. Commercial valentines were introduced in the 1800’s, and now the date is very commercialized. The town of Loveland, Colorado, does a large post office business each year on Valentine’s Day. The spirit of good continues as valentines are sent out with sentimental verses and children exchange valentine cards at school.
Florists are busiest on Valentine’s Day, and roses are the traditional flower sent on Valentine’s Day, with the color of the flowers being symbolic. Traditionally, red roses are symbolic of love, pink roses (said to have bloomed from Mother Mary’s tears as she followed her son up Golgotha) are symbolic of Mother’s love, yellow roses symbolize caring and friendship, while white roses are symbolic of purity.