Happy Valentine’s Day! Or, if you’re single, Happy Look At The Flowers and Gifts Delivered To All Your Attached Friends and Coworkers Day!
So what’s Saint Valentine’s Day all about and why do we mark its occasion every February 14? That’s hard to pin down, as there are many different stories as to the origins of Valentine’s Day, but like many of the holidays we observe, Valentine’s Day has its roots in paganism.
Actually, hundreds of years before the Church altered the day of love in an attempt to rid it of its pagan roots, Romans practiced a pagan celebration in mid-February commemorating young men's rite of passage to the god Lupercus. The young men would draw names of teenage girls from a box and whomever the boy chose would be his companion for the remainder of the year.
The Church, of course, didn’t like the pagan festival and so Pope Gelasius ordered a slight change in the celebration. He did so by filling the box with the names of saints instead of girls and allowing both men and women to draw from the box. The game was to emulate the ways of the saint for the remainder of the year. The Church then found a patron saint by the name of Bishop Valentine for people to celebrate instead of Lupercus.
Bishop Valentine was sent to jail and executed after Claudius II (270 AD) found out he was performing secret marriages. You see, Claudius banned marriage to preserve the number of single men to be soldiers. Claudius, so the story goes, believed that single men made better soldiers. Bishop Valentine disagreed with Claudius and performed secret weddings until he was found out. He was executed on February 14. It was during his time in jail that he wrote his lover a note and signed it, “From Your Valentine.”
And that is how we came to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I know, that's kind of depressing. But it's nice to know that once upon a time there really was a man who believed in love so much he was willing to risk his life for it.
So tonight, while you're celebrating with your hearts desire, or wallowing face down in a gallon of ice cream, remember to give props to Bishop V...