The day grows out of an early Christian saint, Valentinus. Supposedly he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry, and that while in prison he ministered to Christians who were persecuted by the Roman Empire. The miracle that led to his sainthood was the healing of the daughter of his jailer, Asterius.
The legend is that, before his execution he wrote the lady a letter, “from your Valentine” as a farewell. The day became associated with romantic love in the High Middle Ages, and may be attributed to the circle of people surrounding Chaucer. By the 15th century it had evolved to a day for lovers as we currently express it, with flowers, candies, and greeting cards, handwritten in early centuries, known as valentines.
There were actually several Christian martyrs named Valentine. Apparently it was a fairly popular name. Valentine of Rome was a priest martyred about AD 269, and Valentine of Terri was a bishop who was martyred about AD 197. These two, and possibly a third, are largely attributed to the creation of the current Valentine’s Day.
Regardless of where it came from, today is the day for lovers. Not a bad thing to celebrate. The world can always use more love.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you and whomever you consider, or hope, your Valentine to be. Enjoy each other and party hearty. Just don’t get yourself imprisoned.