In the Western calendar February is known as the month of love because, of course, February 14th, St. Valentine’s Day.
So, who was Saint Valentine? There is no clear evidence of a Saint Valentine that was the patron saint of lovers. Many different stories can be found, but given that Valentine was a very common name years ago, some say the details may be from a mix of more than one person.
However, the most popular character is Saint Valentine of Terni, a town in Italy where this Roman priest was born. He was martyred on 14th February during the persecution of the Christians in the 3rd century.
One story tells of how he was beheaded for helping couples to secretly wed, thereby saving the men from having to go to war. This tale certainly would give a reason for him to be the patron saint of lovers.
Many saints do not only have one set of people to look down upon and care for, and so it is that Saint Valentine, apart from being the patron saint of Terni, where he was born, and of lovers, he is also the patron saint of beekeepers and epileptics. A very varied spread of concerns for him!
I am not sure if this occurs anywhere else than the UK, but it was common practice to send an unsigned Valentine’s card to someone you secretly admired. An amazing fact is that many people give a Valentine’s gift to their pet !
However, for people already in a relationship it is a day of chocolates, flowers, romantic dinners out, or at home and, it is apparently the most popular day in the year for proposals of marriage.
However you spend your February 14th this year, I hope it is full of love.