Valentine's Day has a dark, yet romantic and heroic history

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Valentine's Day brings lots of heart-shaped balloons, greeting cards, flowers and candy.

Some people celebrate while others feel like it's just another day.

The February celebration of love derives from Christian and ancient Roman traditions. But, the stories behind it are darker than one would imagine.

Who is St. Valentine and how did February become his month?

The Catholic Church recognizes a few saints named Valentine, all whom were killed. 

One of the legends says that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. Emperor Claudius II decided to ban marriage because he believed soldiers performed better when they didn't have a wife or families at home.

Valentine defied his Emperor and would perform marriages behind Claudius' back. Eventually the secret got out and Claudius ordered that Valentine be killed.

Other legends say that Valentine was a man who used to help Christians escape harsh conditions and imprisonment.

Another story suggests that Valentine may have been a prisoner who fell in love with a girl who was his jailor's daughter. She would visit him during this sentence and before his death he wrote her a letter and signed it "From your valentine."

It's easy to determine from that story where the "be my Valentine" and "To: From: your valentine" greeting cards came from.

We'll never know the truth behind St. Valentine but one thing is certain. He is celebrated every February for what a heroic, romantic and sympathetic man he was (or might have been).

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