“Love Stinks” seems like the appropriate soundtrack to the legendary events of February 14th about 1,000 years ago. It turns out that tragedy had a hand in originating the now fluffed, candied, hearts and flowers holiday of today.
Claudius II, emperor of Rome during 270 AD was inclined to believe that marriage made men weak and that “love” was a distraction to the ultimate goal — fighting and winning wars. We don’t know if there was a personal reason for this opinion or whether or not he himself had an awful or distracting experience with love, but, being the Roman Emperor, he had the power to completely ban marriage and he did.
Some things in life, however, cannot be stopped by laws, opinions, bans, persecution or even the threat of death.
St. Valentine became the Ambassador Of Love and began secretly performing marriage ceremonies for couples desperately in love. He was arrested once he was found out (did a disillusioned bride or groom tattle on him?) and imprisoned.
There are a few legendary tales describing the happenings thereafter, but the gist of the story is that St. Valentine wrote a note to a girl that had fallen in love with him during his time behind bars. He wrote it right before he was killed. He signed it “From your Valentine”.
Good news is that Mr. Valentine has not been forgotten. Not by a long shot. His sacrifice for love has been celebrated and has grown in popularity and significance over time.
At this point in time, those who choose not to celebrate it or who choose to ignore it or (*GASP*) forget about it are the persecuted ones and seem to be eligible for their own kind of imprisonment.
That being said, we are still enjoying creating new versions of hearts and flowers in celebration of Valentine’s Day – see below