As we approach the 14th of February, it is timely to have a look at the story behind this day for lovers. Through the mists of time several stories and myths have developed around St. Valentine, with several characters being given credit as being the St. Valentine.
Perhaps the most likely candidate is a young priest named Valentine who disobeyed the Emperor Claudius in circa 270 AD. The Roman empire was built on military might and Claudius believed that married men made poor soldiers so he banned the marriage of younger citizens. Valentine, however, believed that marriage was a gift from God and that it was his duty to continue to marry young lovers. Some of those he married were as young as 12! Such a thorn in an Emperor's side did not go unnoticed and unpunished and Valentine was captured, imprisoned and sentenced to death. Before his demise, however, he fell in love with the jailer's daughter and on the eve of his execution he passed a note to her which he signed "from your Valentine" and, with these words, a whole industry was born!
It is estimated that a staggering one billion Valentines Cards will be sent on 14th February this year, making it the second largest card sending event with only more being sent at Christmas. Make sure you don't forget, and suffer a fate worse than that of the original Saint Valentine!