The History of Valentine’s Day

14/02/2020 11:23

Every year on the 14th February, people around the world celebrate ‘Valentine’s Day’.  Chocolate, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones in the name of the patron saint of Valentine’s Day: Saint Valentine.  Its history is rooted in both Christian and ancient Roman traditions.  Read on to find out more about the Saint of Love.

In the third century, Rome was ruled by an emperor called Claudius who was angry that not enough Roman men were becoming soldiers.  The men didn’t want to leave their wives and children in order to go and fight for the emperor and so Claudius forbade young men to marry. 

 A Roman priest, called Valentine, saw the injustice of this and continued to help men marry their partners in secret.  Soon, Claudius discovered what Valentine was doing and ordered for him to be arrested, imprisoned and sentenced to death.

Whilst in prison, Valentine became the teacher to his jailer’s blind daughter, Julia.  It is believed that Saint Valentine fell in love with Julia and he performed a miracle, curing Julia of her blindness.

On the day of his execution, Valentine wrote a goodbye letter to Julia and signed it ‘your Valentine’.  The day of his death was the 14th February.

Suggested classroom activities:

For younger children:

Using the word cards, ask children to write some sentences about what they remember from the story.  Challenge children to re-tell the whole story, in order.

For older children:

Ask children to create a storyboard of the story and retell it in their own words, or write it down.  Print out the storyboard template (displayed after the word cards) for children to use. 


Written by: Holly Pigache