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Write-Up & Photo by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com

 

Who would have thought the history of Valentine’s Day is rooted in both romance and courage?

 

Sweethearts will enjoy candlelight dinners this evening, while friends and loved ones exchange candy, flowers and cards throughout the day. In fact, the Greeting Card Association estimates that in America alone some 145 million Valentine’s Day cards, not figuring in classroom Valentines, are sent annually. Although there is more than one explanation as to how it all began, an especially heartwarming tale points to a priest named Valentine who centuries ago, on behalf of young lovers, stood up to what he considered an unjust decree from 3RD Century Roman Emperor Claudius II.

 

This legend, notes HISTORY.COM, goes that Claudius II decided single men made better soldiers than those with wives and children. Thus he put forth a decree outlawing marriage for young men. Valentine – later to become St. Valentine – saw injustice in the law and so he secretly continued to conduct marriage ceremonies which eventually led to his execution by Cladius II.

 

Another legend from HISTORY.COM speaks to Valentine taking on religious persecution. He was killed the legend says because of his efforts to help Christians escape the brutality of Roman prisons where they were “beaten and tortured.”  However, not before he fell in love with a young woman thought to have been the daughter of his jailor and sending her what is believed to be a message that read “Love From Your Valentine” – the first Valentine. Valentine’s Day is marked on February 14, the day Valentine was reportedly beheaded in Rome circa AD 278.

 

By the Middle Ages, in England and France St. Valentine was considered the most popular saint, seen as a “sympathetic, heroic and romantic” figure adds HISTORY.COM. Valentine’s Day is said to be celebrated in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Australia and Mexico.

 

To those with romantic and courageous souls such as Valentine himself – sweet wishes on this day.