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The Origins Of Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day has become a major celebration for lovers the world over. But the origins of Saint Valentine's Day is lost in a confusion of conflicting stories and legends. Here's another point of view from the editors of Life Gold Coast magazine:

Every February 14 around the world, we anticipate flowers and gifts from our loved ones or those we admire from afar, all in the name of St Valentine. But the history of Valentine's Day and its patron saint is shrouded in mystery, containing vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman traditions.

The Catholic Church recognises at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome.

When the emperor Claudius decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Realising the injustice of the decree, Valentine defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first Valentine greeting.

While in prison, it is believed 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,' an expression that is still in use today.

Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, stories are united in their characterisation of him as a romantic, heroic figure, so much so that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.

In modern times, flowers and chocolates have become standard fare. But this year, why not please your Valentine with something he or she would really enjoy? A picnic, just the two of you. An evening at a romantic film or a real “date” like the early days of your relationship, complete with a romantic stroll along the beach or sitting under the stars, holding hands.

Relationship experts agree that even though you may view Valentine's Day as a marketing gimmick, it's a great day to spend some time with your significant other to let them know how much you value them.

Psychologist Dr Julie Rosengren says: “I remember an older man said to me once about his 35-year-old relationship with his wife: 'Every day is a Valentine's Day with us. Every day we show love for each other.' I agree. Every day it's important to show love to each other.

Valentine's Day is an opportunity maybe for some to celebrate that love in a more pronounced or special way. Valentine's Day is commercial but it's also an opportunity to be romantic.”

So you don't have to buy anything; just focus on the special person in your life. Or you could indulge in any number of amazing gifts. Just see these pages for ideas.

About the Author
© Life Gold Coast. This article is reproduced with permission.

Recommended Valentine's Day Gifts

We've put together two special pages to help stimulate some romantic gift ideas for you: