By Mikayla Kimery
Today Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love and share passion with our mates; however, some wonder about the history of this annual love fest. Due to a lack of strong evidence, historians have struggled for years trying to sort out this puzzle. One piece we know for sure is that St. Valentine, a Christian man, created the sole purpose to honor February 14.
Some say that there were different St. Valentines, but the one we have come to know has an interesting backstory. The most common description of his life was that he aided prosecuted Christians in ancient Rome. When he was put on house arrest with Judge Asterius, Asterius promised he would do anything for St. Valentine as long as he healed his blind daughter. When he succeeded, Asterius smashed all of the idols in his house, and converted himself along with his family of 44 members into Christianity.
When he was later arrested for marrying Christian couples, he was put into jail during the time of Emperor Claudius Gothicus. St. Valentine and the Emperor began to form a healthy relationship, until he tried to convince Claudius of Christianity as well. Claudius threatened that he would be tortured and beheaded if he did not speak against Christianity. St. Valentine refused, and was later beheaded on February 14, 269.
The term valentine came from the letter he wrote the Asterius’s daughter, a girl that he had befriended and fallen in love with. Valentines have evolved to commercially printed cards that schoolchildren pass to their crushes. Commercially printed valentines started with the Roman god of love, Cupid, and were also adorned for birds to symbolize the “pairing” of couples. Now these sweet messages of love include corny messages and other love provoking images; additionally, modern valentine exchanges often include small gifts, such as chocolates or flowers.
Whether you are spending this holiday alone, or with a loved one, let us honor the sacrifices St. Valentine made for his savior. May his story be a reminder to hold true to our faith; and furthermore, give us an excuse each February to spoil the ones we love.