February 14th was declared Valentine’s Day at the end of the fifth century to honor a martyred priest, but what’s the connection between a celibate clergyman and romance? Some say it’s because the priest, Valentine, defended the cause of love by performing marriage rites for young soldiers who were forbidden to marry by Roman law. Some say the date for celebrating St. Valentine was chosen in order to “Christianize” a pagan fertility holiday.
Since the middles ages, however, Valentine’s Day has been unequivocally connected to the idea of romantic love. After taking hold in Europe, the holiday as we know it expanded to the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Australia. Now, one billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, which makes it the second-most card-sendingest holiday on the calendar!