Holiday Specials

The Origin of Valentine’s Day

Grab your atlas, running shoes, (Spanish to English translator,) and a good book! You ready? Let’s go, fam!

Valentine’s Day has been advertised and globalized as the day that seems to celebrate love/romance, chocolate, and apparently the colors pink and red also.

That’s wrong on various levels. First of all, they didn’t even have chocolate in the 5th century (when the origin occurred). I know, really sad, but I guess not for them since they didn’t even know it existed. Also, I guess the point of the pink and red is because those colors symbolize love… and about the love/romance thing, originally, St. Valentine’s Day was made to celebrate marriage, but, like many things, it has changed over time. Now forward with the origin!

***

During the 5th century, Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage, likely so that more men would go out to war and spend less time with family. (He wasn’t the brightest guy, if you know what I mean.)

Of course, banning marriage is like… One can’t just ban marriage! Not even if you’re a crazy emperor.

Anyway, there were some people who were not okay with this (if not most people). One of the people who was strongly against Claudius’s decree was a saint named Valentine. He continued to marry couples in secret. One cannot simply ban one of the greatest gifts God gave people and get away with it.

After hearing many reports of secret marriages and the one who marries the couples, Claudius sent men to find Valentine. They did eventually catch him, and locked him up like a firefly in a tight-sealed jar, to be executed.

In prison, Saint Valentine met and befriended the jailer’s daughter, Julia, who was blind and therefore, according to her times, was supposedly only good for serving food to the prisoners.

The two grew to be great friends, and one day, with God’s amazing help, Valentine healed Julia of her blindness and she could see once again.

Claudius decided to give St. Valentine the chance to be free and not executed (because he didn’t want to risk riots and revolts if Valentine was killed. Never underestimate the power of the public) if he would deny his faith.

St. Valentine was brought before Emperor Claudius II, but, like every Christian should, he did not deny his faith. God was his number one, and God told him to marry people.

So then he was thrown in jail and beheaded. Sad, but not the ending. When Claudius died, marriage was legalized again. And people could legally marry each other. Like they should if God calls them to. Because you can’t just outlaw marriage. Oh right, I’ve already said that. Moving on.

Before Valentine was killed though, he wrote a love letter to Julia, and signed it “from your Valentine” (kind of disappointing, honestly, because I was going to say this whole thing on the fallacy of the popular phrase “will you be my Valentine” and how it didn’t make sense because people would say it to their lovers even though Valentine was the person who actually married the couples, but then I realized that Valentine himself was a lover. Fun fact, I’m a Lover. No, really, the last name “Amador” means “Lover”. Look it up. Random fact. Whether it is convenient or not for this not-actually-national holiday, I am still unsure).

Anyway, that is the story of Saint Valentine; the origin of St. Valentine’s Day. Even though I posted this around 11 O’ clock p.m., it’s still Valentine’s Day, so I can still say, I hope you have a happy rest of St. Valentine’s Day!

With God’s Help, 

Daniel L. Amador

CREDIT TO A RELATIVE OF DANIEL L. AMADOR FOR PHOTO.

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