What is Valentine’s Day?
Valentine’s Day is the day of love and affection celebrated annually on the 14th of February. It’s also known as Saint Valentine’s Day or Feast of Saint Valentine.
People show their love for one another every year by sending Valentine’s cards and giving gifts such as chocolates, flowers, or teddy bears. These gifts are also themed with love hearts or colored red or pink!
The History of Valentine’s Day for Students
Before it was known as Valentine’s Day, a pagan fertility ritual was held in Rome every February until the Pope abolished it and replaced the festival with Saint Valentine’s Day. From then, it was a feast day in the Catholic Calendar of Saints.
The first person to link Valentine’s Day to romantic love was a poet from the Middle Ages named Chaucer. In the late 14th century, he wrote a poem called ‘Parliament of Fowls’, which describes a group of birds that gathered together to find their mates on ‘seynt valentynes day.’
Valentine’s Day now celebrates all types of love – including between friends and family.
The day itself is named after a Catholic priest named Saint Valentine.
Who was Saint Valentine?
Saint Valentine was a Roman priest from the 3rd century. He was born in 226 AD in Terni, Italy, and died on February 14th, 269 AD. He is one of the few legendary Christian martyrs believed to have lived. Not only is he the patron saint of lovers but also the saint of beekeepers and epileptics.
During Valentine’s life, many people converted to Christianity, but the Emperor at the time, Emperor Claudius II, was a pagan and created strict laws for Christians. He believed Roman soldiers should be wholly devoted to Rome and shouldn’t marry, so he passed a law to prevent this. According to legend, St Valentine married these soldiers in secret Christian ceremonies, which is why he gained a reputation for believing in the importance of love.
After a while, the Emperor discovered Valentine’s actions and jailed him for his crimes. The legend is that while imprisoned, Valentine wrote a letter to his jailer’s daughter and signed it as ‘from your Valentine.’
Famous Valentine’s Day Poems
Poets have written love poems for Valentine’s Day for centuries. Here are a few you could share with children:
- I carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart) by E.E Cummings
- I Like Hearts by Nellie Edge
- My Mother’s Chocolate Valentine by Jack Prelutsky
- Going Steady by Ian Serraillier
- The Kangaroo’s Courtship by Jane Yolen
- Valentine’s Chocolate by Valerie Worth
- Smitten by Patrick Winstanley