In a few days, the colour of the city will be painted red, the almost recovering bank accounts will be sent back to their death beds and florists will be smiling all the way to the bank and learn what it means to be busy as people lovingly try to surprise and spoil their loved ones.
This is the day when most people go out of their way to show their partners just how much they appreciate them and, apparently, for most, this is the only time in the year that some do so.
Valentine’s Day is yet upon us again this year and love struck couples and hopeful singles are busy preparing for it and hoping to get spoiled and take their love to another level.
But before I get caught up with the hype, let’s first find out who Saint Valentine is and the origins of Valentine’s Day.
I have been told that this day was set aside to celebrate the life of St. Valentine but I never knew what he did to be celebrated on a day that is set aside to celebrate love.
Valentine was a holy priest in Rome, who, with St. Marius and his family, assisted the martyrs in the persecution under Claudius II. He was apprehended, and sent by the emperor to the prefect of Rome, who, on finding all his promises to make him renounce his faith in effectual, commended him to be beaten with clubs, and afterwards, to be beheaded, which was executed on February 14. About the year 270, Pope Julius I is said to have built a church near Ponte Mole to his memory, which for a long time gave name to the gate now called Porta del Popolo, formerly, Porta Valetini. (http://www.lonekeep.com/lki_home/valentine.htm)
How then does a man who has been beheaded link to this day and his life celebrated on this day that is set aside for love?
Well, history has it that Emperor Claudius II of Rome was having problems getting men to go out to battle because of love and their families so he cancelled all marriages and engagements in the Roman kingdom but Saint Valentine and Saint Marius aided the Christian martyrs and secretly married couples and for so doing they were both apprehended and beheaded on February 14 during Lupercalia, which were feasts in honour of a heathen god.
The pastors of the early Christian Church in Rome endeavoured to do away with the pagan element in these feasts by substituting the names of saints for those of maidens. And as the Lupercalia began about the middle of February, the pastors appear to have chosen Saint Valentine’s Day for the celebration of these new feasts.
So I guess it’s safe to say that St. Valentine died for the cause of love. A saint of love, if I may call him that, celebrated on the day he was beheaded during a time which was formerly reserved for honouring a heathen god with an array of pagan celebrations and that is how Valentine’s Day came to be.
My question now is, do we still say we celebrate love on this day or we acknowledge that on this day we are actually celebrating a heathen god and the beheading of one who did his part to preserve the institution of marriage by masking it with red roses and chocolates and give it the label of love holiday?
Maybe I am just reading too much into it all, but either way I say you don’t need a reason or season to celebrate love, how about we make it an everyday thing?
Happy Valentine’s Day!