What’s so special about this day that people go out of their way to splurge on these things which are embodiment of romance? To understand this we should first find out all about St. Valentine to whom this day of romance is dedicated.
Who was St. Valentine
St Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains traces of both Christian and ancient Roman traditions. One legend has it that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. Emperor Claudius II believed that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families which was why he banned marriage of young men. Valentine, who found this ruling very unreasonable, defied Claudius and secretly performed marriages of young lovers. When his actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be imprisoned and then put to death. Valentine was beheaded on February 14th. After his death, Valentine was named a saint. And since then this day has been earmarked for lovers.
This legend also says that it was Valentine himself who sent the first ‘valentine’ greeting. It is believed that Valentine, while in the prison, fell in love with his jailor’s daughter, who used to visit him regularly. Before his death he was supposed to have written her a letter which he signed ‘From your Valentine,’ an expression that is very much in use even today.
Ways to express love
In Wales wooden love spoons were carved and given as gifts on February 14th. Hearts, keys and keyholes were favorite decorations on the spoons. The decoration meant, "You unlock my heart!"
In the Middle Ages, young men and women picked names written on chits kept in a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would then wear these names on their sleeves for one week thus making their acceptance clear.
Sometimes a young woman would be gifted clothing from a young man. If she kept the gift, it meant she was willing to marry him.
Today people give gifts of greeting cards engraved with words of eternal love and friendship or heart shaped chocolates or cakes soft cuddly stuffed toys…the list is endless. Those who can afford it say it with jewelry.