St. Valentine (February 14)
St. Valentine's Day began as a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints who were named Valentinus. Several martyrdom stories were invented for the various Valentines that belonged to February 14, and added to later martyrologies. A popular account of St. Valentine of Rome states that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. According to legend, during his imprisonment, he healed the daughter of his jailer. An embellishment to this story states that before his execution he wrote here a letter signed "Your Valentine" as a farewell. Today, St. Valentines Day is recognized by many Church denominations, as well as by the secular society. The day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards.