Monday, February 13, 2012

love & history

Hello, bloggy friends!

Valentines Day is awesome! It's such a happy holiday! I love that there is a day dedicated to showing your affection to those you love, and not just you significant other (even though that's probably one you want to focus on a little extra. HA!)! Valentines is just like one big, national reminder to smile and little brighter and hug a little tighter. Not to mention that it is, historically, an enormous celebration of love growing in adversity, which I think is beautiful. Being a history teacher's daughter, I'm inclined to tell you the story, even if it's mostly ledgend. But don't worry, its an abridged version for your blog reading pleasure!

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first "valentine" greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl--possibly his jailor's daughter--who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed "From your Valentine," an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and--most importantly--romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.

*long, girly sigh* And that is how Valentines Day came to be. Not a day to make up for 364 days of slacking, but to remind us not to take our relationships and freedom to love for granted. I can't wait to love the crap out of everyone I see tomorrow! Happy early Valentines, friend! I hope your day is filled with warmth and affection!

*image from sodahead 
**history from the most reliable souce ever