Saint Valentino was a Roman priest who performed weddings in spite of the Emperor Claudius' outlawing of marriage for Roman soldiers. He was martyred in the year 270.
The customs associated with Saint Valentine's Day come from various sources and intertwine nicely. For example, besides being St. Valentine's Day, it was believed that half way through the month of February is the time when birds choose their mates. The color red is the color of martyrs, and is also associated with love. In Greek mythology, Cupid is the son of Venus, and is portrayed as a small cherub who shoots love, represented by arrows, into people's hearts.
Interestingly, the Sacred Heart of Jesus is often shown with the wound from the soldier's sword that pierced it and the Immaculate Heart of Mary is often illustrated with the sword(s) of her "seven sorrows" piercing her heart, fulfilling Simeon's prophesy, "Thine own soul, a sword shall pierce."
For Catholics, Saint Valentine's Day should not be a mere "Hallmark Holiday" but a time to reflect on the great love that Christ has for us and the many gifts He has given us. How can we give back?
During the upcoming Lenten season, use the Church's recommendation for fasting, prayer and almsgiving to give back to Jesus, who loves you so much.
Hat tip to Fish Eaters for the wealth of info on Saint Valentine's Day.