Across the world, people exchange candy, flowers and gifts with their loved ones on February 14th – but where did the holiday get its name?

The Catholic church identifies three Saints Valentine that had a connection to February 14th:

The first was said to be a saint who was martyred with a number of companions in the Roman province of Africa. According to one legend, the imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting after he fell in love with a young girl—possibly his jailor’s daughter—who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” the expression that is still in use today.

The second Valentine was a Roman priest who it’s rumored performed weddings in defiance of the Emperor Claudius II. When the emperor decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he forbid marriage for young men. Valentine, however, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.

The third was the bishop of Interamna (modern Terni, Italy), also named Valentine. He, too, was beheaded by Claudius II and was buried along the Via Flaminia outside Rome on February 14th, which has been observed as the Feast of Saint Valentine (Saint Valentine’s Day) since 496.

Whoever is the true namesake of Valentines Day – one fun fact is that he is the patron saint of lovers, epileptics, and beekeepers.

While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial some believe the church picked St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival for the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

Whatever the reason for the day, it’s surely one of the best-loved holidays for the romantically inclined. And a great reason to give that special person you love a gift to remember you by!