Sunday, January 16, 2011

Holiday: Valentine's Day

February 14 is the day when candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones in the name of St. Valentine, a legendary a priest who served during the third century in Rome. Some folks even propose or get married on Valentine's Day.

When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men in order to ensure his supply of soldiers.

Valentine, it is said, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When word of Valentine's matrimonies leaked out, Claudius ordered that he be put to death on February 14, 269 A.D.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.

Legend also says that St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer's daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it "From Your Valentine".

Whatever the truth may be, Pope Gelasius set aside February 14 to honour St. Valentine in 496 A.D. and, gradually, February 14 has became the date for exchanging love messages and St. Valentine the patron saint of lovers.

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