BLOG: St Valentine

©Catholic Telegraph
©Catholic Telegraph

Valentine’s Day is somewhat like marmite

With many of us feeling like it’s an easy opportunity for retailers to exploit money from people feeling a little lovesick. Others get more on board with Valentine’s day, even if just by purchasing a huge box of love-heart-shaped chocolates to eat by yourself.

There is no doubt that all across the world couples celebrate their love on the 14th February, in one way or another. But where did Valentine’s day come from? And who was Saint Valentine?

Saint Valentine lived in Rome in the time of Emperor Claudius II. Claudius decided that single men served much more effectively as soldiers than married men and therefore outlawed marriage for young lovers. It is believed Saint Valentine defied Claudius, secretly meeting with young couples wishing to be married and performing the service. He was ultimately discovered and thrown into prison.

Other sources state he was imprisoned for attempting to convert people to Christianity. Whatever the accusations, Saint Valentine is believed to have been sentenced to death by Claudius.

So what is it about Saint Valentine that has resulted in the 21st Century being obsessed with large teddy bears and marshmallows sculpted into heart shapes at this time of year?

Tradition talks of one point that may have influenced the Valentine’s Day that we all love or loath, the night before Saint Valentine was executed he wrote a letter to the jailer’s daughter and signed it “From Your Valentine”. Perhaps this small act is what led to the 22 million Brits purchasing Valentine’s cards in 2018.

Others suggest that Saint Valentine had nothing to do with the romance of Valentine’s Day, and that this was derived in the Middle Ages when it was commonly thought that birds paired into couples in February.

Whether you’re a fan of the image of Saint Valentine the stealthy romantic or not, there is no denying the mystery of the man behind what has become the second largest seasonal card sending time of the year. We wish you happiness and love this Valentine’s Day… which is really the day to celebrate Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius!