Valentine’s Day: The Unromantic Origins of the Holiday by S. Barr

Valentine’s Day: The Unromantic Origins of the Holiday by S. Barr

(Link): Valentine’s Day hasn’t always been flowers, chocolate and saccharine romance

…While some may be vaguely aware that the occasion takes its name from a priest called Saint Valentine, they may not be acquainted with the full history of Valentine’s Day, which is decidely less romantic than one may expect.

Valentine of Terni was a Third-Century-priest who ministered to Christians in ancient Rome. Various accounts exist detailing the events that led to him becoming a martyr and subsequently being named a saint by the Catholic Church.

  One of the most widely-believed accounts suggests that Valentine defied Emperor Claudius II of Rome. The Emperor had outlawed young men getting married, as he thought them to be of more use on the battlefield than at home.

 Some accounts detail Valentine’s stark defiance of this law, seeing him marry young couples in clandestine ceremonies. This was regarded as a serious offence in the eyes of the Emperor, and the priest was beheaded on 14 February as a consequence.

Despite the emperor’s wrath, the Catholic Church commended Valentine for uniting couples who observed the Christian faith. Thus, Valentine was formally recognised by the church as a saint after his death. Saint Valentine has since become associated with courtly love and the romantic traditions of Valentine’s Day.

You can read the rest of that page (Link): here.

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