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February is mostly known as the month of love. And for good reason, since there is only one world-famous holiday that occurs on that month, which is the all-too-familiar Valentine’s Day. Young love, old love, lost love, or no love, nearly everyone in the world is aware of what the 14th of February means.

For most, it means sending flowers to their special someone. To others, it means giving their lovers chocolates. And to some, it’s both. Usually, those sweet gestures are followed by a fancy dinner date complete with a romantic backdrop. Rooftop candlelit dinner for two? Yes, please. No Valentine’s Day evening is complete without it. Both couples and restaurant owners are quite happy on this particular day.

But who is Valentine? Why was the day named after him? Surely many people have asked that question, so here is why. The holiday actually had its origins in ancient Rome, where a certain Saint Valentine was executed for violating Roman law. According to the law, Roman soldiers were not allowed to marry because, as they believed, married soldiers are not as effective in the battlefield. Saint Valentine offered a “way out” of sorts for Roman soldiers who did want to get married by performing secret weddings. The emperor then found out, and Saint Valentine was martyred.

This is just one legend; there are other versions of the Valentine origin story, but the one above seems to stand out the most. Saint Valentine was kind of like a “warrior of love”, fighting for those who wanted to get married but otherwise could not. Isn’t that lovely in itself?

Of course, people change, and cultures change as well over the centuries. The commemoration of St. Valentine’s death then became the holiday we know now: full of hearts, chocolates, and dinner dates.

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