Candy, Flowers, and Cards! Oh My!

Anthropomorphic Valentine, circa 1950-1960

Image via Wikipedia

How are these tied in with St. Valentine’s Day? Was there really someone named “Valentine”? What did he do to have a holiday named after him?

There are many stories about the origin of St. Valentine’s day. We do know there was a man by the name of Valentine, that he was killed for being a Christian during the time of the persecutions, and that he died around the year 270 A.D. Other than that, stories about his life are pure speculation.

The version of the story I like has to do with a bitter, mean Emperor named Claudius. He was the leader of a large army, but his soldiers were getting tired of fighting. They wanted to go home to their wives, sweethearts, and families. So Claudius devised a plan that he thought would keep the soldiers focused on fighting battles. He sent out a decree over all his lands that the soldiers were not to get married or become engaged to be married. He thought, “Heh, heh, this will really keep them focused on wiping out the enemy and we will be winners!”

But his plan didn’t work well at all. He failed to realize that love is stronger than any decree.

The soldiers were able to go behind the back of the Emperor and find a priest who would marry them in secret, still very legally. His name was Valentine. Couples came from all over to be married by him. However, the Emperor discovered this little scheme and had him thrown in prison and sentenced to die. While in prison, Valentine become friends with the jailer’s daughter. It is said that she was healed through his prayers. On the day he was to be put to death, on February 14, he left a message for the jailer’s daughter, signed “From your Valentine.”

So St. Valentine’s legacy lives on. It is a special day of showing even more love and affection than usual to those around us. This may include sending cards and flowers and candy to those we love.

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