VALENTINE’S DAY HAS GRISLY ORIGINS INVOLVING A PRIEST’S DEATH FOR DEFYING A MARRIAGE BAN
I’ve never really considered where Valentine’s Day came from. To me, it’s all about the mad scramble to find that perfect something for the one you love each year. That’s always defined by what I can buy, where I can buy it, and the anxious question of, “Will she like it?” Yes, I’m old fashioned and binary. But speaking of old fashioned, Valentine’s Day is really, really old fashioned. So much so, that its origins are grisly and not Romantic at all. Outside of a tragedy, anyway. It’s really about a Roman priest who was put to death for defying the Emperor’s marriage ban.
IT WAS PRIEST VALENTINE WHO DEFIED A ROMAN EMPEROR, NOW CELEBRATED AS DAY OF LOVE AND ROMANCE
I had no idea! On February, 14th, 270 AD, the Roman emperor had the Priest Valentine beaten and beheaded after he discovered that Valentine had been marrying couples, defying his ban on the sacrament of marriage. So yes, our day that we now associate with romance, roses, chocolate and love is a day much of the world’ celebrates with consumer driven fervor. But it’s really about the execution and decapitation of a priest who defied a Roman Emperor! But the details are understandably murky, this having happened 2 millennia ago.
VALENTINE’S DAY BEGAN IN THE YEAR 496 A.D., WHEN POPE GELASIUS MARTYRED HIM AT LAST
Some historians say that there is a second Valentine this romantic day is about as well. Others even say there’s a third from the same era, but martyred in Africa. But as for the priest Valentine, we do know that Pope Gelasius marked February 14th as a day to honor his martyrdom, starting Valentine’s Day in the year 496 AD. But if you are a devout Catholic you can try to visit pieces of the Saint Valentine himself. A Dublin church says it has his heart in a box. A Roman basilica displays what it says is his skull. A Prague basilica has his supposed shoulder bone. And, lastly, a Madrid church has his remains encased in glass.
Isn’t that romantic?