Friday Fact: Valentines Day Edition

The Legend of Saint Valentine:
(image borrowed here)

In the days of Roman rule, there was a young Christian priest by the name of Valentine.

The crazy military leaders of the time were trying to pass a law that forbade young men to marry. Marriage was only allowed once a more...er...mature age was reached. The law was supposed to help grow the military - you know how those Romans are - and apparently young, married men don't make very good soldiers.

The young priest Valentine decided that the law was ludicrous, and so invited young couples to come to him to be married in secret. It was devastatingly romantic for the couples who were able to skirt around that law - but for Valentine, it turned out to just be devastating.

He was caught, imprisoned, persecuted for his faith (the hot religion at the time was Roman Paganism), and had a pretty rotten time of it. Then Roman Emperor Claudius II himself came to interrogate young Valentine. Claudius was very impressed with Valentine, and had many discussions with him. He tried to convince Valentine to convert to Roman Paganism to save his life - but, of course, our young Christian refused.

Conviction, Passion, A Way With Words, a Charming Romantic Streak - what more could you want as a qualifier for sainthood?

So Valentine refused to convert and was sentenced to Certain Death (see: Certain Martyrdom). He did, however, heal the jailer's daughter from her blindness.

Turns out he had a thing for her.

And so it was that - on the eve of Valentine's execution (February the 14th) - the very first valentine was written. A note from St. Valentine to the jailer's daughter.

Signed, "From Your Valentine".

And that is the legend of how Valentines Day came to be.

So - really it's not so much about expressing exorbitant affections on your significant other - or desperately attempting to find a date so that the cultural taboo of - (whisper) being alone - on Valentines Day doesn't curse your chances for all time.

No.

Valentines Day is about carnage.

And murder.

And probably a little bit about unsanitary conditions.

And wishing your dad wasn't a major player in the killing - sorry, martyring - of your boyfriend.

In any case - happy Valentines Day Weekend, everyone! 

5 comments:

Jeff and Ari said...

This totally made me laugh :)! Thanks ... my Friday needed that.

Kel said...

People are going to be mighty surprised at the cards they receive from me this year thanks to your post. ;) Thanks for the inspiration!

Jennica said...

When I was in Rome 2 years ago I saw St. Valentine's skull. ROMANTIC? YES!

Nae said...

Yeah, I'm glad my dad didn't try to dispose of Rich. :) What a crazy legend!

Grandpa Rusty said...

And all that carnage is why valentines are always red... think blood and gore.
Ah, how romantic!