There are three different legends involving a St. Valentine. The first legend, involves a priest named Valentine who served in Rome during the third century. Emperor Claudius II decided single men made better soldier so he made it illegal for soldiers to marry. Valentine continued to marry soldiers, defying Claudius II. Emperor Claudius II found out about Valentine's actions and had the priest beheaded.
|Emperor Claudius II|
The second legend has Emperor Claudius II encouraging men to take on several wives. In this scenario, Valentine was cutting out parchment hearts to remind the men of their vows and God's love. This may be the origin of hearts on Valentine's Day. It is believed that this Valentine wore an amethyst ring in the shape of a cupid. This may be the link for amethyst as the birthstone for February.
|Bracelet by DesignsbyCher|
|Vintage Brooch offered by BeadsMe|
The third legend has Valentine killed for trying to help jailed Christians escape prison. According to this legend, Valentine performed a miracle by healing a jailer's daughter while Valentine was in prison. Before Valentine was put to death, he wrote the daughter a note and signed it "from your Valentine," an expression we still use today. By the Middle Ages, St. Valentine became one of the most popular saints.
At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine's Day. By then, the pagan festival of Lupercalia was outlawed. By the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed that St. Valentine's Day was the beginning of the mating season for birds hence, the frequent appearance of birds in valentines.