What do you think of when someone mentions Valentine’s Day? Candy, card, love, affection? All are relevant. The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentine and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 500 AD. Deleted from the Roman calendar of saints in 1969, its religious observance is still permitted. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines“).
The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer (think of the movie: “A Knight’s Tale”) in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.
Some might think that the holiday is in memory of only one Saint Valentine. In reality, numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine. The Valentines honored on February 14 are Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni .
Valentine of Rome was a priest in Rome who was martyred about AD 269 and was buried on the Via Flaminia. His relics are at the Church of Saint Praxed in Rome. and at Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland.
Valentine of Terni became bishop of Interamna (modern Terni) about AD 197 and is said to have been martyred during the persecution under Emperor Aurelian. He is also buried on the Via Flaminia, but in a different location than Valentine of Rome. His relics are at the Basilica of Saint Valentine in Terni.
However you think of it, whatever the origin, no matter what else, you had best get something for your “valentine” or suffer the consequences.