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How Valentines Day Has Evolved

Feb 25, 2008
The history of Valentines Day is still somewhat of a mystery. There are a couple of different stories thought to be the beginning of what is now a very celebrated holiday.

The first story takes place in Rome where St. Valentine was martyred for being a Christian. While he spent time in prison he became friends with the jailers daughter. He died on Feb 14, 296 A.D. Some say he left a love letter to the daughter signed from Your Valentine.

The second story is that St. Valentine served as a priest in the temple during the reign of the Emperor Claudius. It is said that Emperor Claudius had St. Valentine sentenced to jail for disobeying his wishes.

Emperor Claudius wanted to have a large army, but many of the men would not sign up for the fear of leaving their families. That is when Emperor Claudius decided to do away with marriages. St. Valentine, along with many others found this to cruel and evil. Against the Emperors wishes, St Valentine continued to marry couples and as a result he was sent to jail.

While in jail, he met the jailers daughter and they became great friends before he died on Feb 14th in the year of 496 A.D. With the outroar that resulted, Pope Gelasius wanted to honor St. Valentine by setting Feb 14 as a day to celebrate his memory.

Really these two stories are not that much different. The difference is the reason for being sentenced to prison where he awaited death. The day we celebrate is in honor of a man or priest that stood for what he believed in whether it was being a Christian or that those in love should be allowed to marry.

These stories have traveled around the world in honor of St. Valentine. It is also thought that while he spent his time in prison the couples that he married threw flowers through the window to show their support to him. As the stories continued to travel more and more traditions became apart of Valentines Day.

Many traditions of Valentines Day actually came from the story of his time in prison. The letter left for his friend is why we have cards and the flowers thrown through the window is the reason people send flowers to each other. These traditions have been carried on for years from one part of the world to the other.

Ester Howland is the said to be the first person in the United States to give the first Valentines Day cards. This was the start of the holiday becoming commercialized. In the early 1800s the first card were introduced commercially to everyone. People now send gifts and cards in an event that has become the second largest card sending day after Christmas.

Valentines Day has become so commercialized that so many people do not even know the story of how it all began. Knowing that it all started with St Valentines letter and the couples flower might give more meaning to the gifts given to those you love this year.
About the Author
Andrew Gibson is MD of The Card and Gift Company. It is one of the fastest growing online retailers of birthday cards. To see an example of why The Card and Gift Company is growing so rapidly have a look at Valentines Cards
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