February 6, 2004

The Day of Love

Ok everyone. Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and I know that a lot of people out there think that it is just a day created by Hallmark, but after some good old research (Thank you Google!), I found out there is a lot more to this holiday that hugs and kisses.

First, let me start off with what the New Advent people have to say. (They take their information from many different sources, one of which happens to be the Catholic Encyclopedia.) Here we can find out that there is not just one Saint Valentine, but three. All of the saints with this name are matyrs, however there is more known about the first two than the third. One of the two was a priest in Rome and the other was a bishop of Interamna (or todays's Terni). They both suffered in the second half of the Third Century and were buried on the Flaminian Way. (An interesting note: On the way there is a gate that at one point was known as the Gate of St. Valentine.) The little that is known of the third saint is that he is from Africa. The New Advent places the beginning of the conventional beliefs of Valentine's Day during the Middle Ages when halfway through February the birds began to pair.

Now, St. Valentine the priest has serveral stories surrounding him. Catholic Online said that Valentine was beheaded for assiting martyrs in the persecution under Roman Emperor Claudius II with the help of Saint Marius. Apparently Valentine was accused of marring young couples against Claudius' orders. Claudius did not believe that a married soldier was a good soldier. Another site gave more detail into the history of the day, however one can also learn that he died on February 14, 269 A.D. and that some say he left a note for the jailers daughter who had become his friend during his sentence signed "From Your Valentine". For these and many other reasons one can see why Valentine is the patron saint of lovers.

Now on to the commercialized version of Valentine's Day. It was not, as most think, created by Hallmark. I discovered through my research that a woman named Esther Howland actually created the first American Valentine. Born in 1828, Howland recieved her first English Valentine shortly after her graduation in 1847. From there she realized that this could turn into a formittable business and enlisted the help of friends to create her own Valentine company. Taking out her first ad in the Worchestor Daily Spy on February 5, 1850, Howland brought the commercialized Valentine's Day to America.

Now I know that that is a lot of information for one to process, but I hope that in the long run people will read this and realize that Valentine's Day is not just a day for lovers, but is also a day to reflect on someone who did not conform during the persecutions of the early Christians, but actually went against them and said "You are not right for stopping this and I will continue it whether you like it or not." And in the end he paid the most ultimate sacrifice for what he believed in, he paid his life. That has to mean something on this happy day.

Hope I didn't bore you all to death, this is just my feelings on the day seeing as people keep asking me.


Posted by Tiffany Brattina at February 6, 2004 1:48 AM

wow... I would never have guessed there was more than one St. Valentine. Good job...very interesting. :-)

Posted by: Chelsie at February 6, 2004 1:04 PM

Thanks for sticking up for my B-Day tiffany, but I'm the one true saint valintine, bringing love and joy into everyone's life. (insert loving smile)

Posted by: Puff at February 6, 2004 8:52 PM

Thanks for an informative post on a timely topic, Tiffany. For me, Valentine's Day is also the day after my son's birthday!

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at February 7, 2004 1:05 AM

Nice post, Tiff. I'm not Catholic, so I don't know a whole lot about the saints at all... This actually makes me more interested in learning more :^)

Happy Valentines Day, Tiff :^)

Posted by: Karissa at February 7, 2004 1:43 PM

The best part of valentine's day: chocolate and flowers...:)

Posted by: Amy at February 7, 2004 6:59 PM
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