Valentine's Day traditions explained

Valentine's Day traditions explained


by Pat Dooris

Bio | Email | Follow: @PatDoorisKGW

Posted on February 14, 2012 at 5:43 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 14 at 7:08 PM

Valentines Day is a chance to tell others they are important and loved. But have you ever wondered how it all started?

Traditions surrounding St. Valentine are murky. But one legend describes Valentine as a Catholic priest during the third century in Rome. He died after defying the emperor who banned weddings. The emperor wanted to keep his warriors single. But Valentine secretly married lovers until he was discovered.

All these years later -- even children know the name Valentine.

Kindergartners at The Madeleine Catholic Church sang "Won't you be my valentine, valentine, valentine. Won't you be my valentine, I love you!"

For adults, Valentine’s Day is an occasion to connect with those we love, a chance to cut through the busy clutter of our lives.

 “I’m Jason Wanner, I work for Canby fire, I’m a fire fighter/paramedic," said the smiling man standing next to a fire truck.

Wanner is in the middle of a 36-hour shift. He won’t see his wife Julia until after dinner on Valentine’s, which is why she paid to tell the world she loves him, with a message on the reader board of the Clackamas County Event Center.

It surprised Jason as he spotted it on his way back from an emergency call.

“I think this is the most craziest thing she's done -- the most publicized by far. And, that's great. She's a very loving wife to me. She's the best," he said.

In Northwest Portland, at Zupans Market, Nick Elliott has a special night planned for his girlfriend Alice.

“I've constructed a massive blanket fort in our living room and we're gonna watch movies and have take out Thai food in our living room tonight and we're gonna have our own relaxing, away from the rat race kind of Valentines Day," Elliot said. He’s also buying her favorite flowers.

Greer Martin will deliver a special bouquet to her partner of five years.

“Definitely trying to get the sentiment in there, have more of her favorites and instead of maybe just all roses, just a little touch that makes it that much more special,” she said.

Some of us speak to our loved one's sense of taste. Chocolate is popular on this day.

“You know I think because the chocolate is nice and its sweet and it just kinda resembles the feeling of love," said Sharon Flock as she dipped fresh strawberries in chocolate.

She knows the feeling well. “We've been married 42 years,” she said. “And I happen to be very fortunate because I get flowers and chocolates and things like that from him all the time. But he always remembers a special Valentine," she said.

And she always remembers him. “I give him love 365 days a year. He is my special Valentine -- always," she said. Together, Steve and Sharon Flock raised two sons and now have grandchildren.

And all these years after St. Valentine's death, they don’t seem to miss a chance to communicate -- and celebrate their love. He would, no doubt, appreciate that.