On February 14, millions of couples will celebrate their love with candy, chocolate, flowers, jewelry, beautiful gifts and lavish meals. Valentine’s day cards, marriage proposals, candlelit dinners, and uncountable translations of “I love you!” will fill the day, and many of us will look for a memorable way to honor the one we love with style.
Peter Stone’s stunning sterling silver jewelry is a perfect Valentine’s day gift. Whether you choose a traditional heart piece for your sweetheart, or select something more individualized from our wide array of theme collections, you’re sure to find something she (or he!) will love this Valentine’s Day. While celebrating your relationship is a perfectly natural thing to do, you may be questioning its relation to February 14th and the hazy historical figure we know as Saint Valentine.
After all, people fall in love every day, without any Saintly help at all… so what makes Valentine’s Day so special? Birth of a Holiday Although the facts are lost in legend, we can trace a few hints through the historical record. Valentine’s day was officially named in 496 A.D. by Pope Gelasius. At the time, the conversion of various European peoples to Christianity was underway, and the practice of “adopting” pagan celebrations and holidays into the Christian faith was an accepted means of enticing pagans to convert.
Pope Gelasius adopted “Lupercalia,” an ancient Roman fertility celebration, renamed it in honor of Saint Valentine, and moved the date to February 14th (one day prior to the original holiday, traditionally observed on February 15th). Who is Saint Valentine? There are, interestingly, three different saints named Valentine in early Christian history (all of whom, more interestingly, are said to have been martyred on February 14!). Two are well-known, one is little more than myth, and only one is credited with the rise of Valentine’s Day as we know it.
Pope Gelasius, in his effort of conversion, was referring to Valentine of Rome, a Christian priest who upheld his faith and performed his duties in opposition of the Roman emperor of the time, Claudius II. His loyalty earned him execution and martyrdom on February 14, 270 A.D, according to legend. While tension between Christian clergy and Pagan leaders was a common occurrence, Valentine’s specific mode of opposition was unique. In an effort to strengthen the Roman army, Claudius II had banned marriage within Rome, since unmarried men would serve as more loyal soldiers without the burden of family concerns to weigh on their minds.
Unsurprisingly, the Roman people felt the oppression keenly, but were too afraid to openly revolt. Valentine offered a solution: secret weddings. He became a patron of young lovers, performing countless wedding sacraments in secrecy, and gaining a kind and just reputation among the Roman populace. When Claudius II became aware of the treason, he immediately had Valentine seized.
After a long imprisonment and a legendary meeting during which the convicted Valentine tried openly to convert Claudius to Christianity, Valentine was executed for refusing to renounce his faith. Voila! So take one Christian priest, a host of secret marriages, a February execution, a Roman fertility festival, and an ambitious Pope… mix well… and voila! Peter Stone wishes you a beautiful and memorable Valentine’s Day, filled with sparkling sterling silver jewelry and heartfelt words of love and joy!