St. Valentine

A Mystery Uncovered. Who is Saint Valentine?

Who is Saint Valentine?

Valentine’s Day continues to evolve through the years but with the same message of spreading love in its many forms. Many of the current legends that characterize Saint Valentine were invented in the fourteenth century in England, notably by Geoffrey Chaucer and his circle, when the feast day of February 14 first became associated with romantic love.

The History of Valentine’s Day is based on the history of the Patron of Love, a saint originally from a little town of Central-Italy, Terni, surrounded by legends. Saint Valentine (Latin: Valentinius), officially Saint Valentine of Rome, is a widely recognized third-century Roman saint commemorated on February 14 and associated since the High Middle Ages with a tradition of courtly love.

Valentine’s Day, which as everyone knows is February 14, is now celebrated around the world, a lovers tradition. To celebrate Valentine’s Day, typically in Anglo-Saxon countries, lovers exchange “valentine”, ie letters and cards of love characterized by typical symbols like hearts, cupid doves. English 18th-century antiquarians, noting the obscurity of Saint Valentine’s identity, suggested that Valentine’s Day was created as an attempt to supersede the pagan holiday of Lupercalia (mid-February in Rome). This idea has lately been dismissed by other researchers. The history of Valentine’s Day, as the Patron of Lovers, is based on several legends, as follow.

First Legend: From your Valentine with Love

The first legend regarding the history of Valentine’s Day tells that tenderly tied to the young daughter of his “jailer” (which had miraculously restored his sight), before being decapitated he sent a farewell message to the girl that ended with the words ” from your Valentine“. From this legend and this phrase born therefore the phrases used on this occasion, “Be my Valentine“.

Second Legend: a Rose, Forever Lasting Love

The second legend of the history of Valentine’s Day is linked to a rose: one day Valentino handed a rose to a young couple while arguing and asked them to hold it together in their hands, and praying to the Lord for their love would last forever. They did so, and reconciled, Bishop only to return later to bless their wedding. In another version of this story, the saint was able to inspire love in the two young people by making several pairs of pigeons fly around them. Those birds were so sweet as they seemed to exchange tender signs of affection; the word “lovebirds” has its origin from this episode. “Lovebirds“, in fact, is translated in Italian with the word “piccioncini” (little pigeons).

Third Legend: Valentine joins in Marriage Sabino, a Roman centurion, with his loved Serapio

Valentine, former bishop of Terni, united in marriage the young Christian Serapio and the Roman previously Pagan centurion Sabino: the union was hampered by her parents, but once overcome their resistance, it was soon discovered that the young woman was seriously ill . The centurion called Valentino to the bedside of the dying woman and asked him never to be separated from his beloved: the holy bishop baptized him and then joined him in marriage to Serapio, after which, they both died. Eternally together.

In short, the true history of Valentine’s Day is a mystery, halfway between reality and myths, but with a common element, eternal love, which we celebrate every year on February 14.


Posted by Nicoletta and Tiziana

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