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St. Valentine’s Day and giving anonymous gifts to the poor


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Philip Kosloski - published on 02/13/22

During the Middle Ages, St. Valentine's Day was celebrated by giving anonymous gifts to the poor.

While Valentine’s Day has become a day to express your love to someone special in your life, it originally included a tradition of giving anonymous gifts to the poor.

The American Ecclesiastical Review in the early 20th century relates this tradition.

In medieval times, it appears to have been the special occasion for making anonymous gifts to the poor and to friends generally.

This tradition is also recorded in The Christian Work, where it states, “Saint Valentine was a good bishop … who was beheaded way back in the third century, who was noted for his love and charity and whose life was commemorated by anonymous gifts.”

Little has been written about this tradition, but is likely inspired by the life of St. Valentine, who was known for his charitable works and care for the poor.

If you are looking for an alternative way to commemorate Valentine’s Day and don’t want to give-in to the materialism that now surrounds it, consider this unique tradition of giving gifts to the poor.

When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

Matthew 6:2-4

Valentines Day
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