I have posted two different posts in my blogs today. So you get twice the fun. Access the other one here.
What is Saint Valentine’s Day about anyway? I wanted to share this with you since I found myself wondering the same thing…
In researching the answer, I compiled facts from these three sources, Saint Valentine, Wikipedia Entry for Saint Valentine, and Wikipedia Entry for Lupercalia.
As the Wikipedia entry suggests, we know very little about Saint Valentine. Just like Saint Nicholous, it seems most of our holidays center around lesser known Saints. However, with Valentine even less is known. However, the British website does present us with some theories. Apparently, the Roman Emperor Claudius II had anulled all marriages and engagements in order to get men to go to war. I don’t see what real effect this would have had on soldier morale. Just because someone declares my marriage invalid doesn’t mean that I would stop loving my wife. It seems like the types of laws our Congress sometimes passes without thinking.
At any rate, such a law was not going to find a lot of popularity among the clerics of the early Christian church. Cancelling people’s marriages probably had the unintended effect of “cheating” on wives since they were no longer wives, as well as some other potential societal and moral problems. Thus, the British site tells us, Saint Valentine performs underground marriages.
The Emporer catches wind of these covert operations and when the Saint doesn’t recant, he is martyred. Conviniently, since he was performing marriages and other love things, he is killed on 14 Feb which is the day, in ancient Roman culture, where boys would draw girl’s names from a pot and get to be with that girl all night at the festival. They would often end up getting married from this interaction.
As I pick up from the Wikipedia article, it is more likely that the date was fabricated by the early Catholic church eager to replace Lupercalia with a Saint’s Feast Day as they had done with Easter and Christmas. Since his deeds had to do with love, they chose him to replace the Roman celebration of fertility and love.
In the 1800s in the United States, the holiday was commercialized and now we send each other cards and chocolate. Just like the Easter Bunny and certain elements of Christmas don’t make sense outside of commercialism and a reversion to the pagan holidays they were meant to replace, Saint Valentine’s Day has very little to do with this mysterious man.