Come one, come all, Valentine’s Day has arrived!
I know, where did the time go? It’s February, but some how it still manages to feel like December here in New York. None the less, it doesn’t change the fact that my least favorite holiday has arrived at our door.
When most people think Valentine’s Day, they think about roses, chocolates, and completely useless oversized teddy bears with “I love you” sewn on the front (Let’s be honest here, those ginormous teddy bears really don’t go anywhere except for your closet collecting dust). To most people, Valentine’s Day is a way to show appreciation for your significant other, or if you don’t have one, a way to show appreciation for yourself. However, this is how most people see Valentine’s Day. I am a little different. Like all other holidays, Valentine’s Day is a holiday with history. And most of the time when it comes to holidays, the history is completely forgotten and in it’s stead comes an abundance of propaganda.
So I have come with a special Valentine’s Day present from me to you. In other words, I’m about to educate y’all. If I remember correctly, Valentine was an actual person. Yes, that’s right, Valentine was a “christian martyr” who lived in Rome during the “5th century”. At least that’s what it says on the history website.
Okay, yes, I didn’t even know the real story of this Roman dude Valentine. Yes, I pretended like I did when in fact I just watched a four minute video on the subject. Sorry, I just wanted to make sure I had my facts straight!
Anywho, Valentine was actually the name that was used for many priests in Rome; they were called Saint Valentine, all of them. Valentine’s day actually was called Lupercalia, which was a tribute to the Roman Goddess Lupa. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know. Either way, there was an emperor who banned marriages! And, no this wasn’t because he couldn’t find someone to marry. Actually, the emperor decided to ban marriages, because while the men went off to war they became homesick. Naturally, the men missed their wives and children. This gave the Emperor a huge idea, if he banned marriages then the new soldiers wouldn’t feel homesick due to the fact they didn’t have a wife to miss. However, one of the Saint Valentines really loved love (pun intended) and continued to marry couples in secret.
Back then, if you disobeyed your ruler/emperor there was a price to pay. Think Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Eventually the Emperor caught wind of what this Saint Valentine was doing and sentenced him to death. Harsh? Maybe, but without this sequence of events we wouldn’t be celebrating this holiday at all. While Valentine was in jail, the couples he married would write letters to him, most likely to thank him for making their marriage possible- or to brag that they didn’t get sentenced to death and he did. Either way, the Christian Priest would write back from his cell and at the end of the letters saying, “From your Valentine.” Boom, a tradition was born!
So, yes if you were ever wondering this was how Valentine’s Day came about. There are two ways to look at this, “Aw, he believed in love so much that he died for it!”, or, “This holiday is literally due to someone being sentenced to death.”
Personally, I would choose the latter.