The History of Valentine's Day and MCPL Online Resources
February 01, 2013
In this day and age when many holidays have become so secular and over-commercialized, it is easy to lose the true meaning of the holiday or not even be aware of its origin in the first place. We all know that Valentine’s Day is celebrated by giving flowers, candy, chocolates, and cards, and by showing others that we love them. But how many of us truly know the history behind Valentine’s Day and St. Valentine? Probably not that many. There records of the period when Valentine lived in Rome are not complete, and therefore, several legends of the man have become popular over time. In fact, the only true facts about Valentine are that he was a Roman martyr who died on February 14 circa 270 and that he was deemed a saint about 200 years later.
There were at least three Roman men named Valentine during this time period, and it has been suggested that at least two of them might be the same person. Legends have one Valentine as being a priest martyr who helped Christians, another has Valentine as being the former Bishop of Terni, and yet another as Valentine being a physician who loved a blind girl.
Some historians even believe that the real Valentine and his life truly have no connection to why and how Valentine’s Day is celebrated today; they believe the custom of sending love notes/gifts on Valentine’s Day is simply because medieval Europeans marked February 14 as the beginning of mating season for birds.
You can find all the previous information and learn much more about Saint Valentine and Valentine’s Day through MCPL’s collection of books or by accessing our Research Databases. Two excellent nonfiction books intended for children come up as results: Saint Valentine by Robert Sabuda and Saint Valentine by Ann Tompert.
Happy hunting with MCPL’s wide variety of resources, and Happy Valentine’s Day, too!!