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Teaching Spanish in Spain and Latin America since 1989

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Where does St. Valentine's Day Come From?

Come February 14, everything is crammed with hearts. It's the day of love. But… what did this Saint do to become the lovers patron?

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Come February 14, everything is crammed with hearts. It’s the day of love – St. Valentine’s Day. But… what did this Saint do to become the patron of those in love?

The legend says the Romans executed St. Valentine for having married several couples under the Christian ritual. However, there isn’t enough evidence proving that this is what happened. What we do know is that the English poet Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a poem in the year 1382 to honor the marriage between King Richard II of England and Anne of Bohemia, in which said that their wedding day took place on St. Valentine’s Day, when the birds were looking for a mate. The problem is that the Valentine Chaucer was referring to was the Genovese St. Valentine’s – which is on May 2.

Why then do we celebrate it on February 14? Some believe we have mistaken the Genovese Valentine with other three saints: Valentine of Rome, Valentine of Termi and a third, unknown Valentine. They all coincide on the calendar on February 14. Others think that February 14 was simply the day Romans celebrated the festival of fertility.

If that wasn’t enough, some countries’ St. Valentine’s isn’t even celebrated on Febraury 14. We are going to mention a few of them in case you ever fall in love with somebody who lives there. This day is something you don’t want to get wrong.

Funnily enough, those in Spain who don’t celebrate St. Valentine’s Day claim the festivity was really invented by department stores to make up for the lack of holidays in February.

How confusing… right? Oh well. The important thing here is to love each other. Love is what the world needs!

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