Valentine’s Day 2017

Valentine%27s+Day+2017

Valentine’s Day. It has come a long way from its origin of people risking their lives for their own, as well as the love of others. From marrying people in secret, to passing out paper “Valentines” and giving out heart-shaped boxes or chocolate, as well as bouquets of roses. It goes without saying that the holiday has become very commercialized, so much that some may even say they feel required or compelled to participate for their loved ones or significant other. Knowing that, it is also interesting to know that some say the holiday wasn’t associated with romance for a long time after its origin story occurred, although some would say otherwise.

Yes, when I was in the local supermarket, picking up some last minute odds and ends, I once again spied the sickeningly sweet pink and red decorations and instead of rolling my eyes and pretending it wasn’t there, I thought of you”

The actual holiday finds it’s official origin in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, which is a fertility celebration on February 15th; however, it was a Pagan holiday so Pope Gelasius announced that it would be a Christian holiday, held on the 14th. There is a specific St. Valentine that the Pope wanted to honor with this day, but since there are at least three possible St. Valentine’s from that time period that all happened to be martyred on February 14th, specifics are hard to find, but for the sake of this article I will share my favorite origin story of Valentine’s Day.

Emperor Claudius II was about to go to war, and he wanted all of his young male soldiers to be well trained and not distracted by the likes of women. So, he made it law that no soldier of his could marry from then on, until he would lift the decree. But a priest named Valentine did not find this declaration lawful and took it upon himself to marry young couples in secret, and hope not to be caught. Alas, he was soon caught, and thrown in prison awaiting his execution. While imprisoned it is said that he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, and when he left on the day of his execution he left her a love note as a last goodbye, and it was signed, “From your Valentine.”

In modern times it has become a corporate money-gaining scheme. Don’t get me wrong, we obviously enjoy it just as much as the comfortable fat cats making the profit of our blind purchase of things heart-shaped and somewhere in the pink spectrum. But it has strayed far from any Christian martyr. Most people enjoy spending the day with a significant other and treating them to a number of things whether that be a casual night in, or out. Romantic outings, or getaways followed by gift giving are common. Most are content, however, with a simple gift to show that they had been thought about, a gesture that says, “Yes, when I was in the local supermarket, picking up some last minute odds and ends, I once again spied the sickeningly sweet pink and red decorations and instead of rolling my eyes and pretending it wasn’t there, I thought of you.”  So, what are you doing for your Valentine on this February 14th?