Every February, across the country, candies, flowers and
gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of
St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and why do
we celebrate this holiday?
One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome: When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men became better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young, single men. Nevertheless, Valentine, opposing the decree, continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine was discovered, Claudius told their men to apply the capital punishment with him.
On the other hand and according to another legend, Valentine actually sent the first "valentine" greeting himself. While he was in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl -who may have been his jailor's daughter- who visited him during his confinement. Before his death it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, wich he signed "From your Valentine", an expression that is still in use nowadays. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasise his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and, most importantly, as a romantic figure.