Did You Know? Around 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are bartered annually, making Valentine’s Day one of the most decorated card-sending occasion. Gifts are exchanged in the form of flowers, candy and stuff toys. But do we know the actual background of it?
Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, has a history relating to both Christian and ancient Roman tradition.
The Catholic Church sees at least three saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend says that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that unmarried men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he banned marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the order, ignored Claudius and continued to allow marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered his killing.
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.
Another legend says that Valentine was imprisoned when he actually sent the first ‘valentine’ greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl, possibly his jailor’s daughter, who visited him during his custody. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today.
Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is vague, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and romantic individual.
All the legends behind Valentine’s Day relate to Christianity and not Islam which is the religion of the majority here in Pakistan. But still on the 14th of February, almost every couple goes crazy over Valentine’s Day as if it is their grandfather’s festival.