The Story Behind Valentine’s Day

 

When one thinks of Valentine’s Day, they probably think of chocolate hearts and maybe a bouquet of flowers (preferably roses or violets). The real story behind Valentine’s Day has little to do with romance and more to do with death. Many legends revolve around the famed holiday, but the most widely accepted is the story of Saint Valentine.

Saint Valentine lived in the third century, which was when the Roman Empire was thriving. In those days, Rome was fighting many wars under Emperor Claudius II. Men, who opposed the wars made an effort to refuse becoming soldiers; however, Claudius misunderstood this and assumed they only wanted to stay with their wives and children. He then resolved to ban marriages from Rome so men would have more incentive to fight.

Valentine was a priest who disagreed with the emperor. He knew that if people could not be wedded legally, they would immorally live together anyway. Valentine began to surreptitiously marry couples in hidden places. The king soon found out, and urged him to leave the Christian faith. Valentine refused, so Claudius had him beaten, stoned, and finally decapitated for disobeying the law. His execution date was set for February 14th, and from then on, the Catholic Church celebrated that date in memory of him.

~ Chandler Touchstone

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