Valentine’s Day is celebrated every year on February 14. But why? Many buy cards and candied hearts and do not know there was a man named Valentine. Who was the man behind this holiday that has become known for cupid, chocolate, roses, and love notes saying, “Be my Valentine?”
(Source: The Story of St. Valentine: More Than Cards and Candied Hearts)
Christian history describes several men named Valentine (or Valentinus), and even a women named Valentina. Legends tell about the courage of a Valentine who died for his faith on February 14th. The legends encourage Christians to boldly stand up for Jesus in the face of struggles.
Valentine and the Emperor
One of the legends tells of a harsh Roman emperor, Claudius. The emperor conquered tribes that tried to invade Rome. But more and more tribes were becoming a threat. Claudius needed more soldiers, but few men wanted to leave their wives and families to serve as soldiers for 25 years.
So Claudius made a law against weddings! If men did not marry, they would be more willing to be soldiers.
Young men and women who were engaged were heartbroken.
Valentinus (Valentine) secretly joined couples in marriage. “Marriage was God’s idea!” he said. “No emperor can hinder what God created!”
Valentinus was arrested, and just like Christians in many countries today, he continued to speak the truth ever after his arrest.
The Story of St. Valentine: More Than Cards and Candied Hearts is by The Voice of the Martyrs with Cheryl Odden. To learn more about this and other children’s resources, visit the resource page.