So today is supposed to be the day that people intentionally remember that ‘someone special’ in their lives. I’m sure that for 86.87% of men, it’s the day that the reminder alarms on their phones go crazy – reminding them to go out and buy lovey-dovey stuff for that one special lady.
But who was the original Valentine? Well, waaaaaaay back in time, Claudius II was the Emperor of Rome and he was of the opinion that men who weren’t hitched made far better soldiers than their married counterparts. It was this opinion that led him to making a law that young, unmarried men were not allowed to take the leap of faith into marriage.
Then along came a Bishop Valentine. *Cue ‘saves the day’ music* He felt really sorry for these young men and decided he’d start conducting marriage ceremonies on the sly. But as with any story like this, his secret didn’t remain secret for too long and Emperor Claudius II sent him to jail. (In fact, not only was he jailed, but the Emperor also tried to get Valentine to start worshipping various Roman gods. Valentine’s response: he started trying to convert the Emperor to Christianity. The result: our hero was sentenced to be executed.)
Now in terms of the actual emergence of Valentine’s Day, there are numerous theories about how it came about. The most popular being that whilst in jail, Bishop Valentine fell in love with his jailer’s daughter. Then, shortly before his death, he sent this lovely lady a note and ended it with “from your Valentine” (as any good man would do…). Those who knew about Valentine found this rather romantic and shared the story with others. He become rather popular and eventually was promoted from Bishop Valentine to Saint Valentine.
After his death, he then became a Patron Saint and was considered by many to be the spiritual figure who oversaw a festival that occurred annually on 14 February – one during which Romans would send out cards declaring their love to those they had their eyes on!
And there you have it – a brief history of Valentine’s Day. Now go out and buy heart-shaped chocolates! (Even if you keep them for yourself! 😀 )