Valentine's Day Facts

Originally posted on my HSB blog, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day is often linked with cards, chocolate, and generally showing love to one another. But what is the true meaning?

Valentine's Day comes from a feast celebrated by the Romans. The feast took place on February 14th and honored two men named St. Valentine. It's not certain which one was associated with romance, or how the holiday got that meaning, but they were both Christian martyrs.

There's not much known about either of the two men, but one legend says that Valentine (we don't know which one), a priest, disobeyed the emperor Claudius II's decree that young men were not to be married. Valentine didn't agree with the law, and so performed marriages in secret. Unfortunately, Claudius II found out, and had Valentine thrown in jail. On the night before he was executed, he wrote a note addressed to his "Beloved" and signed it "Your Valentine". We don't know exactly who his "Beloved" was, but it may have been the jailer's daughter, whom he befriended and prayed for.

Another legend says that people wrote notes to Valentine while he was in prison, and hid them between rocks and cracks in the cell walls. He would then read the notes and pray for the people who wrote them.

St. Valentine's note is very likely where the concept for sending Valentine's Day cards to one another came from. Take time this month to pray for those you love or surprise them with some hidden notes or special words of encouragement.

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