Red Rose, Red Hearts, and Valentine cards all represent an invitation to… “Be My Valentine”. It’s a holiday that gives us an opportunity to shower a little extra love on family and friends. So, what is the history of this tradition?
Legend contends that in 269 A.D., Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than married ones. It seems like the married men became “homesick” for their wives and were not giving their all to the cause. The emperor thus outlawed marriage.
A priest, who was recognized by the Catholic Church as St. Valentine, defied the emperor by preforming secret marriages for young lovers. When St. Valentines actions were discovered, Claudius II ordered St. Valentine to be put to death.
While St. Valentine was in prison, it was said that some of the couples would visit him and hand him notes and flowers through the bars in appreciation for his sacrifice. During his confinement, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter.
Before the day of his execution, February 14th, he handed her a letter which was signed, “From Your Valentine.” In 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius set aside February 14 to honor St. Valentine. A tradition was born.
When I was a youngster, Valentines were given in secret. When the door bell would ring, my sisters and I would run to the door to find the Valentines left on the door step… the giver of the cards was no where to be seen. My mom would leave “Little Lu Lu Comic Books”…such a treat! We would pretend not to notice her head darting in and out of the bushes, enjoying our excitement.
Today, the holiday has become a 14 billion dollar business… 8 million roses are purchased (red of course) …36 million heart shaped boxes of candy are given, and according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion valentine cards are sent each year. By the way…approximately 85 percent of all valentines are purchased by women.
I think we should extend the spirit of Valentines Day to an everyday experience… a little more kindness, a few more hugs and kisses, more expressions of love. The simple sentiment of, “I Love You,” goes a long way in making my day… How about you?
P.S. Be My Valentine
P.P.S The supreme happiness of life is the conviction of being loved for yourself, or more correctly, in-spite of yourself. Victor Hugo