The day to celebrate love and lovers is almost upon us once again! Amid the candy hearts and cards being exchanged and given to show our love for another, is a man who was beheaded for his beliefs and his aid to young martyred Christians. Being a student of Catholic school, while we did celebrate V-Day amongst ourselves, technically, the day was not officially recognized, and the nuns who taught us went out of their way to remind us of who the man behind the holiday was.
There are conflicting reports to his origin, but most agree he was a priest who was martyred in 269 AD. His crimes consisted of marrying Christian couples in the Roman Empire, and aiding other young Christians being persecuted during Claudius II’s reign. He was jailed and condemned to death. Supposedly, at first, they tried to stone and beat him to death, when it didn’t work as expected, he was beheaded. The date of his execution – you guessed it! February 14. It wasn’t until 496 that the date of his death was marked as the celebration of his martyrdom by the Pope at the time (I should know that, Sr. Maureen would be so disappointed in me). There is some dispute as to when his day of remembrance became associated with romantic love, but I tend to believe it was the Middle Ages when the day to celebrate romantic love truly became forever linked with him. Perhaps because he did marry Christian couples, although I also recall learning at some point that the origins of the rituals of Valentine’s Day come from cultures such as Ancient Greek and Roman societies. But I could be wrong, it was a long time ago when I heard that.
In any case, oddly, Valentine’s Day is not a big day for me. I know, I write romance novels, that day should be a highlight of my year. But it just isn’t. Way back when I was still a starry eyed young girl who thought a handsome knight would sweep me off to a life of pampering, luxury and utter adoration, I exchanged Valentines with my boyfriends, and swore undying love. Of course, I know better now, and looking back on some of those boyfriends, I am extremely glad that undying love only lasted a few weeks, or months, at best! And some of those special Valentine’s Days turned out to be pretty lousy no matter what plans I made. But these days, it’s usually just like any other day, it’s very rare to have anything special planned in our house. Priorities are making sure the kids have a fun day – usually includes a gift of some sort, making sure they wear red for their class parties, and of course, preparing their Valentines to share with their classes and friends. But after a full day of working outside my home, then coming home and working several more hours at my real (read: Mom) job, I’m just happy to get an hour or so to myself. Alone. With no kids, or a husband, needing me for something - which usually turns out to be something they can generally handle themselves – no laundry or dirty dishes to tend to, no toys to be picked up and the like. Though a box of chocolates would be nice. But I don’t need a holiday to indulge in that!
What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day tradition? Do you have special plans this year? Was there a particular Valentine’s Day that was especially memorable for you – either good or bad? Share it here – two lucky commenters will win either a $25 Amazon gift certificate or a gift basket from Bath & Body Works! I’ll announce the winners next Tuesday.