Today Valentine’s Day is celebrated with romantic dinner dates and boxes of chocolates, but has a long history dating back to Roman times. Valentine’s Day has been celebrated for nearly 1,700 years and has always been associated with love. The day itself was set aside to honor Saint Valentine, a Christian martyr from the third century.
Valentine was a monk in the Roman Empire who believed in the beauty of love. To him, nothing could represent the beauty of the world more than true love. He was the kind of monk who loved red roses and looking into lover’s eyes by candlelight.
So to the dismay of the people of Rome, and Valentine, the Roman Emperor made a decree that young men in the service of the emperor could not marry. It was the belief of the emperor that marriage distracted these young men and therefore was bad.
Valentine, who administered religious services to the troops, believed that the emperor was wrong. Secretly, Valentine performed marriages for these young men until he was caught. At that time, Valentine was taken to prison and the Emperor sentenced him to be fed to the lions. Nothing is as romantic as secret marriages.
During his incarceration, Valentine became friends with a jailer who had a blind daughter. It is said that Valentine prayed over the daughter and she was miraculously healed. Valentine became enamored with the girl and she loved him as well.
As he patiently waited to be put to death, Valentine would send the girl the most beautiful poems. He would hand write them out and sign them “Love your Valentine.” He continued this practice until his death. This wasn’t a Hallmark card but the last words of a man in love.
Christians began celebrating his feast day on February 14th shortly after his death. His love letters and his belief in the power of true love and marriage made people feel happy and they wanted to remember his devotion to love. Even then, love letters and poems were exchanged on this day to commemorate the power of love. We ought to cherish the private moments we have with our loves, as Saint Valentine wished he could do.
Now, nearly 2,000 years later, people of all religions and in all areas of the world celebrate love on Saint Valentine’s Day. It is a good reason to take your special someone out to dinner or excuse because you should take them anyway. Of course, every day should be Valentine’s day and filled with adventure and intimacy.
Candy hearts, flowers, and jewelry have become common gifts in the modern age. But if you truly want to celebrate the true meaning of Valentine’s Day, take the time to write a note to your significant other and tell them how truly wonderful they are and that you love them. Spend some one-on-one time with your sweetheart and share an experience as that is what gave Saint Valentine the ultimate joy.