day 94 – St. Valentine

My friend sent me an email explaining the origin of Valentine’s Day.  The Romantic in me just has to share this with you:

According to legend during the reign of Emperor Claudius II, the Romans saw many unpopular military campaigns.  In an effort to strengthen his military, Claudius outlawed marriage for young men, believing that men with wives made poor soldiers.

Saint Valentine, a Roman priest under the rule of Claudius II, defied the emperor’s decree and continued to secretly perform marriages for young lovers. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, he was imprisoned, condemned to death and beheaded on February 14, 270 AD.

During his confinement, Valentine fell in love with the daughter of a jailer, who showed him great kindness.  Before he was taken away he slipped her a note and signed it, “From your Valentine”, unknowingly establishing a tradition that would become a gold mine for greeting card companies many centuries later.

So then I got to researching it further.  It seems there were two beheadings that day.  One a priest and doctor from Rome, the other, the bishop of Terni.  The year was @ 270 AD.  Valentine was the name of the priest and they were both denounced, beaten with clubs and killed for assisting the martyrs during the persecution under emperor Claudius the Goth’s reign.  Both refused to renounce their faith under torture.

February 14th had coincidentally been an ancient day associated with the mating of birds. The next year, people drew lots for valentines (sweethearts).  And so it continued, and by the end of the 18th century, the exchange of gifts accompanied the drawing of lots.  Later it became customary to exchange letters, which sometimes were secret and/or humorous. This evolved into the affectionate sending of roses, candies and cards today.

In reviewing the history, I dare to opine:  we owe it all to sainthood and sacrifice –  the practice of doing what is right or authentic even faced with the sure terror of pain and ultimately, death. The red rose proudly exhibits this badge of courage.

BTW – every rose bush I have in my garden has been a gift from my beloved.

Thank you, M

One thought on “day 94 – St. Valentine

  1. Parallel again! Check out videoclip bout the origin of V day……..showed it to my Italian classes……..same lil story different venue! XOXO

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