February 14 comes every year and across the United States and other world countries, candy, flowers, gifts, romantic get always are traditionally exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But do we know anything about this mysterious saint? How did these traditions begin? Here’s some interesting information on Valentine’s Day history.
The Legend of St. Valentine
Valentine’s Day history – and the story of its patron saint – is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?
Did You Know?
Approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine’s Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas.
The Catholic Church recognizes 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 Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, 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, an imprisoned Valentine 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 confinement. 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 murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.
Cards and chocolates traditionally top the list of combination “I love you Valentine” gifts.
Chocolate is easy and quick to acquire nowadays with so many distributors and vast variations of fine chocolates at affordable prices.
#1 topping the Valentine gift list however are cards! Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, manufacture of elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap” card were all the craze. Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.)
Flowers, personalized gifts, dinner out and more are always a nice idea as well and much appreciated by many a recipient and rank high on the popular Valentines romantic gift list.
Unexpected travel is a definite option and has been climbing the list over recent years. Though this can be more pricey, the gift of time away with exclusively with your love is always in season!
Did you Know:
Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.
To Sum it Up:
Valentines Day, no matter how you cut it, is a day set aside out of 364 other days in the year to intentionally and sincerely acknowledge the meaning of relationship! Don’t let it pass you by. We at Pueblo Bonito b&b inn – Santa Fe want to encourage you to take the time to let those who mean so much to you know you appreciate them. After all, sharing kindness, love and sincerity is THE most important gift we can give each other. That said, we thank all our guests and loyal patrons whom over 33 consecutive seasons have provided us with many friendships, encouragements and the honor to know you.
Take care of one another and until see you again at Pueblo Bonito b&b inn- Santa Fe!
Amy, Herb, Katzy, Glendy, Maria, Carolina (the Pueblo Bonito family!)