Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sure, you grew up celebrating Valentine's Day. As a kid, you likely prepared separate Valentine's for each student in your elementary school classroom and excitedly put one in each student's bag. When you came home from school, you would look eagerly through your gifts and messages. You probably wrote special cards for your teacher, your mom and dad, and also, for that special someone. Then, as you grew up, you started to grow irritated with that holiday, especially if there was no one to celebrate it with. You realized that it truly was a Hallmark holiday that was mainly celebrated for the purpose of making money. Thus, Valentine's Day lost its novelty. 




 


However, don't give up hope just yet. Have you ever actually heard the story of how Valentine's Day came about? I have, especially since I love holidays, and I want to share that story with you guys out there today. It may be true that it is overwhelmingly a Hallmark holiday (reportedly, Americans spend annually $14.7 billion on this holiday alone - wow!) but Valentine's Day did not come out of nowhere; rather, it has its roots in a real person (St. Valentine) and a real story (though the details may be fuzzy). Read ahead for the tale:



The story goes like this.....in the mid-200's A.D., Emperor Claudius II took control of the Roman Empire, which was quite a large territory at the time. It was kind of the center of the world, if you will. The Roman Empire was under threat of attack from all sides during this conflictual era, and so, Claudius II wanted to be sure that there would be enough troops ready and able to go to fight, if need be. Fearful that married men and men in love would be resistant to part from their families during war, Claudius II came up with a solution. He decided to ban all marriages, thus preventing men from using the excuse that they could not leave their wives and/or families behind. During this time, fortunately, there was a man by the name of Valentine who was the Bishop of the Roman Empire. He did not agree with Claudius's brutal ban on marriage. Thus, he invited young couples to come with him where he performed marriage ceremonies in secrecy. Of course, Valentine was eventually caught and then forced to come face to face with Emperor Claudius II. The relentless Claudius II decreed a three-part execution after lengthy debates back and forth during which Valentine would not budge from his stance or his pride. 

As the story goes, while Valentine was in prison awaiting his death sentence, he fell in love with the jailer's daughter. They would exchange cards and messages back and forth, which he would sign, "Love, your Valentine".  Sadly, Valentine was indeed executed on February 14, 270 A.D.  His loyal friends and followers kept his spirit alive by sending Valentine's Day cards every year on the anniversary of his death, telling each other of their love for one another. With the spread of Christianity, so too did this ritual spread across the world.




So, although Valentines Day is very much a Hallmark holiday (and you cannot argue that), it may be meaningful to remind yourself where the roots of the holiday came from. History is really quite interesting and there's a special meaning and story behind each and every holiday that you come across.

Have a good one and don't forget to tell those you love that you love them because life is just too short!

 

3 comments:

  1. Hope you got my Valentine's card...you need to spread Valentine's day to Israel :)

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  2. That is really sweet! Unfortunately, not a problem in my world, Dave's birthday is today! :/ forever difficult to get birthday decorations instead of hearts...

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  3. That's sweet! I knew there was a St. Valentine, but never actually knew the story and all the details behind the holiday. Thanks for sharing!

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