The Origins Of Valentine's Day

It's surprising how many people don't know the origin of Valentine's Day.  It's not just an invention of the greeting card, candy, and flower companies to make a fast buck, although I'm sure they encouraged the celebration of what is known in many Christian denominations as the Feast Of St.Valentine's for that very purpose.

Valentine was a Third Century A.D. Roman Catholic Bishop who got his head sliced off for marrying lovers against the decree of the emperor.  OUCH!

Claudius II believed that men made better warriors if they were unmarried.  Since there was no such thing as veteran's benefits and GI insurance, his thinking was that men who are married with children would be concerned what will happen to their families if they were killed and therefore might hold back in battle because of that.  He issued a decree that all single soldiers were forbidden to take a wife.

Needless to say many in the military thought this unfair and married in secret.  Out of fear of the emperor, many clerics would not perform weddings for soldiers, but Valentine, Bishop of Interamna (modern Terni, Italy) defied Claudius and eventually paid for it with his life.

The feast of St. Valentine of February 14 was first established in 496 A.D. by Pope Gelasius I, who included Valentine among all those "... whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God." As Gelasius implies, nothing was yet known to him about his life.

There are two other Valentine's associated with martyrdom on February 14, one a priest in Rome, and another a priest in the Roman province in Africa.  Little is actually known about them as well.  Bishop Valentine is generally considered by most to be the one for whom the holiday is named. 

I would also like to take this opportunity to say something to the ladies.  If your guy forgets about Valentine's Day, it is not necessarily that he doesn't care about you.  Things like Valentine's Day and anniversaries are low on most men's list of priorities.  Most men will be far less hurt if you forget Valentine's Day or your anniversary than you would be if we forget.  It's not that we don't love you, it's just that we're more likely to forget because the symbolism of these days is simply less important to us.  In the case of anniversaries, all that matters to us is that we got married, not remembering the specific day.  As to Valentine's Day, okay it is insensitive when we forget, but it isn't intentional.  It just doesn't mean as much to a man as it does to a woman.  I think that's just the way most of us are.

So if your man forgets, try and understand that it isn't that he doesn't care.  It's that displays of sentimentality are difficult to show for many of us.  Just to make sure we remember, many of us would appreciate a reminder a couple of days before.  I know women don't forget, but guys do, so please cut us a break and remind us.

Dan 88!