Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Saint called Valentine

heart in handsIs there any holiday that isn’t been bogged down with buying things? Seriously, I couldn’t even go to the corner store to buy a loaf of bread without running into little teddy bears holding hearts that say, “I Wuv U." So it’s not that surprising that I couldn’t find any information on Valentine’s Day without seeing pink and red ads galore - and without resorting to Wikipedia.

But enough with the bitterness; it’s love day!

According to legend, February 14 is the day the patron saint of love was executed. Arrested around 270 CE by Roman Emperor Claudius II for conducting secret marriages, Valentine has since become a symbol of love and romance.

Saint ValentineAfter his death he became the overseer of an annual festival in which Roman men gave women they liked a hand-written letter confessing their desires. How romantic.

But like most marketable traditions, some historians suggest St. Valentine may better represent Christian love (even though the "Saint" part is usually left out of the cards).

It’s said that Claudius attempted to convert Valentine from his Christian faith to worship the Roman gods; Valentine refused, and even tried to convert the Emperor.

Either way, whichever legend is true, it appears love is still at the heart of it. And I suppose chocolate doesn't hurt either.

1 comment:

  1. I find it to be a little tacky post Valentine's day when all the gifts, chocolate, hearts, and teddy bears go on makes the whole "love" celebration seem that much more consumeristic. What happened to hand made cards and homemade dinners?! But your right, all legends aside, love is still at the heart of it (thankfully).