An imprisoned man named Valentine, who lived in the 200s, is said to have written the first Valentine Card to the jailer's daughter before he was executed on February 14th.
But who was Valentine then? Well though there is no certain explanation, the most famous story tells the tale of a Christian man named Valentine who lived during the 200s and who was imprisoned and martyred in Rome around 269. The crime he was convicted for - ordaining young couples. Something which was strictly against emperor Claudius II orders.
During Valentine's time in prison he was in contact with the jailer's daughter, who brought him food and messages. And prior to Valentines execution, on February 14th, he wrote a farewell letter to her signed by "Your Valentine". This is said to be the first Valentine card and the start of the tradition of sending each other cards on this date.
The tradition to celebrate Valentine's Day in Sweden, a day which in Swedish is called Alla Hjärtans Dag - All Hearts Day (literal translation), is rather young actually. In fact, the first attempt to adopt the Valentine Day celebration in Sweden was in 1956 when a department store displayed Valentine's Day for the first time. But no one cared much about it. Therefore Valentine's Day remained a foreign tradition up until the 1990s, which was when it became part of the Swedish festival calendar. Something which instantly boosted the interest for this celebration. Today most Swedes know about and celebrate Valentine's Day in some form.
So, despite the possible brutal start of the Valentine Day tradition, I wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day! Lots of ♥♥♥ from Sweden!! :-)