Updated: May 17, 2021
Valentine Day gets its name from a famous saint. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there were at least three early Christian saints by that name. The popular belief about St Valentine is that he was a priest from Rome in the third century AD.
Emperor Claudius II had banned marriage for young men, claiming that bachelors made better soldiers . Valentine felt this was unfair, so he broke the rules and arranged marriages in secret.
When Claudius found out, Valentine was thrown in jail and sentenced to death. The myth says the jailer’s daughter took pity, brought him food, and tried to save him. There, he fell in love with the jailer's daughter. Before he was executed on 14 February, he allegedly sent her a letter signed "from your Valentine."
According to UCLA medieval scholar Henry Ansgar Kelly, author of Chaucer and the Cult of Saint Valentine, it was Chaucer who first linked St. Valentine's Day with romance.