Well it’s here. That one day a year that guys and girls can express their admiration and love without fear of sounding corny. Of course, we’re talking about Valentine’s Day. A day when cards, chocolates and flowers are rushed to those we care about, all accompanied by that popular term of endearment “Be My Valentine”. But how did “Valentine” become the term we so recognizably associate as a pledge of affection?
As with many traditions we can look to a combination of history and legends for the answer. Sometimes they come with a little embellishment, but sometimes we may find that the real story far exceeds our expectations. The story we’ll share with you here may be the latter. But that’s for you to decide.
The legend of Valentine…. Many, centuries ago a Roman priest by the name of Valentine was performing secret, forbidden marriages for soldiers. Forbidden because the emperor may have thought married soldiers were less likely to want to go to war. As part of the ceremony Valentine would present to the couple paper hearts to remind the couple of their vows and love. (A tradition it would seem is observed to this day with the exchange of Valentine Cards.) For conducting these secret marriages, the emperor imprisoned Valentine and sentenced him to be executed.
While imprisoned St. Valentine performed a miracle for his jailer’s blind daughter, Julia, giving her back her sight. Julia would often come to visit Valentine in jail and a sincere friendship grew between the two. Upon Valentine’s last night before his execution he wrote a final note to Julia. And in this last expression that he would have on earth, with his execution just moments away, he told Julia how much her friendship in his final days had meant to him. As his ending thoughts to this endearing note, he closed with a pledge from the heart…” Your Valentine”.
Did You Know?