History & Culture

The Truth Behind Valentine's day

by Christina Giagkou




  • When you think of Valentine’s day you probably think of flowers, red hearts and romance, right? However, the true meaning is more than that. It’s a true life story about love, sacrifice and commitment.
  • Every February 14, couples around the world celebrate love, in the name of Saint Valentine. But who is this saint and where did this tradition come from?
  • In general, the history of Valentine’s day is yet a mystery. Historian’s are not 100% sure about the origins of that celebration but many believe it has vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman.

Who was really St. Valentine?

  • There are several myths, but based on the most popular legend, saint Valentine was a priest who served during the 3rd century in Rome. One day, emperor Claudius II, outlawed marriage for young men, as he though that single soldiers are better than those with a family. Saint Valentine ignored this order and continued to perform marriages secretly till to be discovered by Claudius who put him to death. The 14th of February is actually the day that Saint Valentine died in Via Flaminia of Rome. During his time in prison, Valentine felt deeply in love with the blind daughter of one of the jailers. His love and faith made the blind woman see again. On the eve of his execution, Valentine is said to have written a farewell note - ‘’From Your Valentine’’, in ink that he squeezed from violets.
  • St Valentine’s skull –with a crown made from flowers and a stelcilled inscription - now resides in Chiesa di Santa Maria in Cosmedin, on Rome’s Piazza Bocca della Verità. His bones and a vial of his blood have been stored in the Whitefriar Street Church, in Dublin, since 1936. Every year, thousands of couples visit the religious shrine to ask him to protect their love. Many couples preparing to marry also head to this church on February 14, for a blessing of the rings.

When did it become so commercial?

  • The story behind Valentine’s day may be too old, but it was during the 18th century that became so commercial. Specifically, it started to take off in England, with lovers sending sweets and cards decorated with flowers and images of cupids and birds. Throughout the years, hand-written cards were replaced by printed ones and in 1913, in Kansas City began mass producing of Valentine’s Day cards. Nowadays, approximately a billion of cards are exchanged every year and it’s the second largest seasonal card sending time of the year. An interesting fact is that every year, thousands of letters addressed to Juliet are sent to Verona, where Shakespeare’s fictional Romeo and Juliet lived.
  • For some people Valentine’s day is an opportunity to celebrate love and affection while others believe that is just a way for the industry to increase sales. It is up to you how romantic you will be this Valentine’s Day…    

Christina Giagkou

From an early age, I developed a keen interest in how people think, feel and react under different conditions. This led me to pursue a degree in Psychology and later on to graduate with a Master’s degree from King’s College London. However, my creative personality and my obsession to social media resulted in my current profession as a Marketing manager


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