Valentines Day

What began as a tribute to Christian martyrs has become perhaps the greatest of all “Hallmark holidays”. There is considerable controversy over who the first Saint Valentine was, and there are considerable myths that exist.

One of those myths is that Saint Valentine of Rome was sent to jail for continuing to support Christians during the time of the Roman Empire.  The legend is that Saint Valentine restored the eyesight of his jailer’s daughter the evening before he was executed.

Another legend is that Saint Valentine performed weddings of Christian soldiers even though they were not allowed to get married. Allegedly Saint Valentine wore a ring with an image of Cupid engraved in the amethyst stone. Cupid was associated with love, and Roman soldiers seeing the engraving asked Saint Valentine to marry them.

There were a number of Saint Valentines and stories. Originally February 14 was selected as the first day to honor Saint Valentine. In the 14th and 15th centuries, Valentine’s Day transitioned from a celebratory feast to one of romance. In 13th Century England, flowers, candy, and cards became associated with Valentine’s Day. Doves, the heart shape, and a winged cupid also came into being. In the 19th Century, Valentine’s cards became mass-produced. With the reduction of the costs of mailing, it became possible for Valentine’s cards to be more widely shared by the masses.

What began as a day to honor a martyr has now become something quite different in most parts of the world. It is a day to share romantic thoughts with one another. And that has also made it a day of anxiety for both the giver and receiver of Valentine’s wishes.

Valentine’s Day in the United States has no official governmental recognition, but woe be it a person who forgets the day.

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“Women marry men hoping they will change. Men marry women hoping they will not. So each is inevitably disappointed.” – Albert Einstein

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