We don’t bother much with it here – it’s the day before our wedding anniversary and I am of the belief that it’s cliched and over-commercial. I’m a lover of stories though, and the tales that led to the rather odd custom of sending anonymous cards intrigues me.
There’s no real evidence that any of the people known as ‘Saint Valentine’ were romantics in the sense we think of. There is one lovely legend, however, which says that a priest named Valentine married young Roman soldiers to their sweethearts despite a decree from Emperor Claudius II which forbade such things. Claudius believed that single men made better soldiers. When he discovered what was happening he had Valentine arrested and jailed, and sentenced him to death. Some versions of the legend say that this Valentine sent the first ever Valentine’s card to a young girl. She may have been the jailer’s daughter or she may have been someone he’d previously healed (she may have been both), but the words on that note were familiar to us today: “From Your Valentine.”