While it has been said Valentine’s Day, celebrated annually on February 14, was an idea of the large commercial chains to increase sales after the holiday sales period. Nothing could be further from the truth. While to this day, Valentine’s Day generates significant retail volume, this holiday was not a commercially driven invention.
Its origin is much more historical and interesting.
A priest named Valentine, who served in Rome around the third century, was the person who inspired this tradition of love. When Emperor Claudius II ruled the Roman Empire, he decided to prohibit the celebration of marriage by young people. Claudius believed that single men without a wife and children would make better soldiers, as they had fewer ties.
Valentine the priest considered that the decree was unjust and, clandestinely, decided to defy the orders of the emperor. Valentine secretly celebrated marriages, hence becaming the patron saint of lovers.
When his disobedience was discovered, the emperor imprisoned him. An officer wanted to put him to the test and challenged him to restore sight to his daughter Julia, who was born blind. Valentine did the miracle. Finally, on February 14, 270, Valentine was executed.
It was Pope Gelasius I in 494 who designated February 14 as the official Valentine's Day. The holiday was included in the traditional liturgical calendar and has been celebrated in the Catholic Church for the next 15 centuries.
In 1969, the Second Vatican Council removed St. Valentine from the General Roman Calendar, because so little is known about him, but the catholic church still recognizes him as a saint, listing him in the February 14 spot of Roman Martyrolgy
Modern day Valentine's Day continues to grow in different parts of the world every year.