Valentine's Day is fast approaching and the day of love will be celebrated by many couples, families and children around the world. Candy, flowers, gifts, holiday gift baskets and cards are exchanged between loved ones. This is all in the name of St. Valentine.
Why do we celebrate Valentine's Day? The beginnings and history of Valentine's Day and its patron saint is shrouded in myth and mystery. However, for ages February has been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day contains trace history of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition.
Who was Saint Valentine? One legend claims that Valentine was a priest during the third century in Rome. Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men because he decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families. Valentine defied Claudius and performed marriages for young lovers in secret. Claudius, when Valentine's secret actions were discovered, ordered that he be put to death.
Other myths suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.
According to another legend, Valentine sent the first valentine greeting himself. While Valentine was in prison it is said that Valentine fell in love with a young girl who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter which he signed "From your Valentine."
The legends and history of St. Valentine are murky and mysterious. However, the stories portray Saint Valentine as a heroic, caring and romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France. There are many stories, all varying, about what actually became of Valentine. Some say that he was beheaded while others say that he became sick in prison and died.
In 1835, the remains, or at least what are to believed the remains, of St. Valentine were given to an Irish priest, Father John Spratt by Pope Gregory XVI, after Spratt impressed the Pope with his preaching during a visit to Rome. A black and gold casket can still be viewed every Valentine's Day at the Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin, Ireland.
Some individuals believe that Valentine's Day is celebrated in February to commemorate the anniversary of the death or burial of St. Valentine, which probably happened around 270 AD.
Cupid - The God of Love
Another famous and important symbol to the much celebrated Valentine's Day is the cupid, a mischievous winged boy armed with bows and arrows. Signifying emotions of love and desires, Cupid aims those arrows at Gods and humans causing them to fall deeply in love.
Cupid has always played a role in the celebrations of love and lovers. In ancient Greece he was known as Eros, the young son of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. To the Romans, he was known as Cupid.
In Roman mythology, Venus, Cupid's mother and goddess of love ordered her son Cupid to make Psyche fall in love with the ugliest man in the world. Venus was overcome with jealousy of Psyche's beauty. Instead, Cupid fell in love with Psyche and brought her to a secluded palace where he visited her only at night.
However, Cupid, unseen by Psyche, forbade her to ever look upon his face. One night Psyche lit a lamp and looked at him while he slept and because she disobeyed him, Cupid punished her by abandoning her and she was left to wander throughout the world in search of her love, Cupid. After many tests and trials she was finally reunited with Cupid and the gods made her goddess.
Cupid and his arrows have become the most popular of love signs. Love is most often depicted by two hearts pierced by an arrow, Cupid's arrow.
Have you been struck by Cupid's arrow? This Valentine's Day, celebrate love and romance with your special someone and visit us for many wonderful gift ideas including delectable chocolate gift baskets, heart shaped gift towers, bath and beauty gift baskets and more.
And, remember, when Valentine's Day has come and gone, the holiday may be over but the Valentine's Day mood should be celebrated every day.