Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine's Day --- It's History?

Was there a real Saint Valentine?

When I was a young lad in school (long, long ago, in a land far away) it was the custom to exchange Valentine's cards with members of the opposite sex. My memory is very fuzzy as to what the actual protocol was, and considering the age of the participants I seriously doubt if even puppy-love had anything to do with it. It was sort of a bit of a special day stuck in between Christmas and Easter which perhaps was a sign we were half way through the winter doldrums. Some candy was involved but not on the scale of either Christmas or Easter.

Over the years since, I have dutifully bought the love of my life flowers or chocolates, or both on Feb. 14 as a way of expressing my undying love and devotion, (hope she reads this, extra points). It never seemed like a bad idea although the day itself, or it's history was never something I gave any real thought.

This year, with the entire knowledge and history of the world at my fingertips, I decided to see what the undisputed authority for everything had to say on the subject. So, fired up the 'puter and googled 'Valentine's day', follows are the common versions of the history of this day, which now is a sound marketing ploy for Hallmark, FTD and Purdy's.

Round about 200AD the Christian Church and the Roman Empire were still duking it out for power throughout Europe. The Roman's insisting everyone still worship their gods, and the Christians of course opposing these heathen beliefs.

The Romans had a law forbidding young people to marry, seems they thought young men made better soldiers if they weren't worrying about their loved one at home. A priest named Valentine believed in the sanctity of Christian marriage and therefore would marry young people secretly,which was against Roman law.

Sooner or later Valentine found himself in a Roman jail for his preaching and marrying, where he is said to have healed the jailer's blind daughter, making such an impression the jailer became a Christian believer. That did not save Valentine from being condemned to a three part execution which included, beating, stoning and finally beheading for his deeds. It is said before his death he sent a note to the jailers daughter, signing it ' your Valentine'.

Well, there you have it, if wikipedia and can be trusted as reliable sources of information, is the true story behind what has now become Valentines Day. Of course the Saint was a title bestowed by the church after Valentines martyrdom.

Now, off to the stores to grab a card, some chocolates and a single red rose. Can you say 'brownie points'?


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