The Origin of Valentine’s Day

By Alina

Marketing and Communications Advisor with a passion for diamonds and a nose for trends. Always happy to share the latest developments in the jewelry business with you.

February 13, 2018

Every year on February 14, we give each other the most beautiful gifts: sparkling diamonds, an engagement ring or a bouquet of red roses. But why do we do this? What makes Valentine’s Day the international day of love?

Secret love

At first, Valentine’s Day was the day you confess to your secret love that you love them. You would give him or her a gift such as a letter or flowers. Later on, we made the day more general because not only secret love should be celebrated! Valentine’s Day has become the day on which you tell your loved one that you love that person. This can be done by giving flowers, writing a love note or of course giving a stunning diamond ring.

The story

Unlike the contemporary meaning of Valentine’s Day, the true legend is centuries old. The original story is set in the third century AD and is about a bishop named Valentinus (Valentine). This bishop believed in true love and married many happy couples. He went as far as marrying a pagan soldier of the Army of Emperor Claudius II to a Christian girl at some point. In those days that was really ‘not done’. Naturally, news like this spread like a wildfire and the bishop had suddenly so many couples to unite in wedlock that it was almost like a full-time job.

I’d rather have an unmarried soldier

Now keep in mind that Emperor Claudius II preferred an army of single soldiers over married ones. Unmarried soldiers worked better according to the emperor. The man did not have a woman waiting for them at home, so they wouldn’t feel the strong need to go home. Moreover, single soldiers were often more reckless than the married soldiers, which came in quite handy in times of war.

When more and more soldiers were getting married by the bishop named Valentine, the emperor had had it. He gave the order to arrest Bishop Valentine and decided to interrogate the man himself. During the reign of Claudius II, there was still a heavy Christian persecution. When the bishop tried to reform the emperor during the interrogation, it was the signal for the floodgates to open. The emperor was furious! He demanded that Valentine was tortured and then beheaded.

heart lock with key in dark room

From your Valentine

Before he was beheaded, the bishop stayed in prison. During his prisoner’s ship, he built a close relationship with one of the prison guards. The guard told Valentine he had a daughter who was blind and he asked the bishop to cure his daughter. Valentinus did everything he could to help the daughter of his prison guard. From inside of his cell this was not easy, but the bishop managed for the custodian to obtain medicine. Unfortunately, this remedy did not work. When the bishop was told his time had come – despite pleas from the guard – Valentine was going to be beheaded. Before his execution, Valentine managed to slip a note to the guard for his daughter. The guard gave the letter to his daughter. When she unfolded the note, a yellow flower fell out of it. At that moment, the daughter got her sight back. She read the letter, which reads: “from your Valentine”. So even after his death, Bishop Valentine fulfilled his final act of love.

The jailer’s daughter never had the chance to see the bishop, hence the story of the unknown – or secret – admirer. After the incident, the prison guard immediately converted to Christianity and lived his life for the purpose of faith and love.

Valentine’s Day today

The last few years, the festival has become flattened out and more commercial. However, if we stay true to the true meaning of Valentine’s Day, this is the perfect day to express (or confess) your love. Are you wondering what Valentine’s Day at Royal Coster Diamonds looks like? See it for yourself  during a Royal Experience tour at our diamond polishing factory and Diamond Museum.

valentine's chocolate with heart and ribbon

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