Did you know that more red roses are sold on Saint Valentine’s Day than any other day of the year? It is also one of the biggest days of the year for chocolate shops and jewellers. The three most popular days of the year to receive an engagement ring are Christmas, New Years and Saint Valentines Day.
Rather than griping about being single, or how commercial holidays have become, let’s remember how the holiday came about and celebrate the love Saint Valentine believed in.
It’s a holiday for young lovers, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t enjoy ourselves too. Here are ten things to do this Saint Valentine’s Day to spread the love a little farther.
Visit the Amnesty International website to find the address for a prisoner of conscience. Write a letter of support to the person of your choice. Saint Valentine was a prisoner before he was executed.
Support peace activists world-wide. Emperor Claudius II banned marriage because he needed more soldiers for his Army. He sentenced Valentine to death for performing marriages in secret.
Tell your parents you love them and ask them to tell you how they met. All lovers were young once.
Get outdoors and go for a walk, take a dog, the sunlight and fresh air will lift your mood.
Indulge yourself with a little chocolate, sharing is good. Chocolate contains chemicals that enhance your mood, lift depression and besides, it just tastes so good.
Enjoy a romantic movie starring your favourite actor or actress of the moment. A little fantasy can be a good thing.
Read a romantic novel, try Jane Austen’s Persuasion or your favourite Harlequin Romance author.
Light some candles, order your favourite take-out and eat in your jammies.
Be loving to yourself, have a spa night, take a bubble bath, manicure your nails, deep condition your hair and get some extra sleep. February 14th was originally the festival day of Juno, patron saint of Roman women.
Who Was Valentine?
Valentine was a Christian priest in ancient Rome. He lived during the reign of Emperor Claudius II Gothica, who ruled Rome for two short years from 268 to 270 AD.
In Rome, and the Empire, February 14th was a public holiday which honoured Juno, wife of Jupiter. She was called Regina (which means queen) and was the patron saint of Rome and the Roman Empire. On February 14th she was worshipped on the Capitol in Rome. Juno was also the protector of the women of Rome.
One of the Roman customs of that time was to write the names of young women on slips of paper and place them in pottery jars. Young men of the same age then chose a slip of paper from the jar and the girl whose name was drawn would accompany the young man throughout the Festival of Juno celebrations.
Under Roman law there were strict rules about young men and women meeting, and this ceremony gave young people a chance to get to know one another and possibly develop a romantic relationship that might lead to marriage.
Emperor Claudius II was involved in numerous military campaigns and needed soldiers. During his brief reign he banned all engagements and marriages because he felt young men were reluctant to leave their sweethearts and join the army.
|Emperor Claudius II|
Brother Valentine began to perform marriages in secret but an informer advised the Emperor of his activities and he was arrested and thrown in prison.
While he awaited sentencing the young people of Rome threw flowers and notes of encouragement through his cell window. He was eventually sentenced to be executed and beheaded after death.
A popular story says that the jailer’s blind daughter visited Brother Valentine in prison regularly and through his prayers her vision was restored. On the eve of his execution Brother Valentine allegedly wrote a note to this young woman thanking her for her friendship and kindness. Some say the note was signed, ‘Love from your Valentine’.
The following day, 14 February 270 AD, Brother Valentine was put to death. Not long after February the 14th became known as Saint Valentine’s Day for Christians. He is known as the patron saint of love and happy marriage.
Emperor Claudius II did not outlive Saint Valentine by long, he died of the plague in the same year.
In 1836 Pope Gregory XVI gave the Carmelite Church on Whitefriar Street in Dublin, Ireland a gold-bound wooden casket containing the remains of Saint Valentine. In 1960 the church was renovated and a shrine was constructed to house the casket. Underneath a statute of Saint Valentine there is the following inscription:
|Shrine of Saint Valentine, Dublin|
Loves Has Many Faces, Celebrate In Your Own Way and Be Grateful!