St. Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14th, to commemorate the passing away of St. Valentine.
Here’s my version of the legend behind Valentine’s Day.
Emperor Claudius the Second of Rome was every inch a Roman, and he wouldn’t tolerate a Roman’s refusal to serve in the army, for any reason at all as he couldn’t fight a war if he couldn’t recruit soldiers. And the reason why nobody wanted to enlist was love. Men didn’t want to leave their sweethearts, their wives, and their families behind. Claudius knew that this was the time for desperate measures. If men continued to fall in love and get married, his army would become weak. The solution was to stop them from getting married!
The very next day, the town-crier announced the decree from the town-square, and with a few minutes, every Roman knew of Claudius’s order. The young men and women who were happily planning to get married realized what this meant. But a heart that has known love doesn’t give in easily to decrees and proclamations, and St. Valentine knew this. He was a young priest who decided to ignore the decree and who continued to perform the marriages of young couple.
When Claudius found out, he was obviously enraged. This was the time when the Church was just beginning to gain recognition and power, and by no means its authority equalled that of the Roman Empire. That Claudius got St. Valentine apprehended and locked up was not as unexpected, as was the resulting expression of love and affection for St. Valentine. Lovers would visit him in the prison, and it is said, that even when in prison, he continued to perform marriages.
As luck would have it, St. Valentine himself fell in love with his Jailer’s daughter. However, Claudius had come to know of the secret ceremonies that St. Valentine was performing despite his arraignment, and he announced St. Valentine’s execution. St. Valentine, who was in love, wrote a last parting love-note to his sweetheart and signed it “From your Valentine.”
St. Valentine was executed on February 14th, and lovers all over the world celebrate this day as a day of love and romance.