The rose is red, the violet’s blue
The honey’s sweet, and so are you
Thou are my love and I am thine
I drew thee to my Valentine
The lot was cast and then I drew
And Fortune said it shou’d be you
From the collection of English nursery rhymes Gammer Gurton’s Garland (1784)
Today, 14th February, is Valentine’s Day, or more appropriately, Saint Valentine’s Day.
I would like to share with you one of the most beautiful love stories of all time. If you have heard of or read about this story, let us hear and read this again.
Note there are one or more versions of this story and here’s one of them…
The Story of St. Valentine
Let me introduce myself. My name is Valentine. I lived in Rome during the third century. That was long, long ago! At that time, Rome was ruled by an emperor named Claudius (the second). I didn’t like Emperor Claudius, and I wasn’t the only one! A lot of people shared my feelings.
Claudius wanted to have a big army. He expected men to volunteer to join. Many men just did not want to fight in wars. They did not want to leave their wives and families. As you might have guessed, not many men signed up. This made Claudius furious. So what happened? He had a crazy idea. He thought that if men were not married, they would not mind joining the army. So Claudius decided not to allow any more marriages. Young people thought his new law was cruel. I thought it was preposterous! I certainly wasn’t going to support that law!
Did I mention that I was a priest? One of my favorite activities was to marry couples. Even after Emperor Claudius passed his law, I kept on performing marriage ceremonies — secretly, of course. It was really quite exciting. Imagine a small candlelit room with only the bride and groom and myself. We would whisper the words of the ceremony, listening all the while for the steps of soldiers.
One night, we did hear footsteps. It was scary! Thank goodness the couple I was marrying escaped in time. I was caught. (Not quite as light on my feet as I used to be, I guess.) I was thrown in jail and told that my punishment was death.
I tried to stay cheerful. And do you know what? Wonderful things happened. Many young people came to the jail to visit me. They threw flowers and notes up to my window. They wanted me to know that they, too, believed in love.
One of these young people was the daughter of the prison guard. Her father allowed her to visit me in the cell. Sometimes we would sit and talk for hours. She helped me to keep my spirits up. She agreed that I did the right thing by ignoring the Emperor and going ahead with the secret marriages. On the day I was to die, I left my friend a little note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty. I signed it, “Love from your Valentine.”
I believe that note started the custom of exchanging love messages on Valentine’s Day. It was written on the day I died, February 14, 269 A.D. Now, every year on this day, people remember. But most importantly, they think about love and friendship. And when they think of Emperor Claudius II, they remember how he tried to stand in the way of love, and they laugh – because they know that love cannot be beaten!
St. Valentine was beaten, stoned, and then finally decapitated (beheaded) in Rome on the same day that has been devoted to love. In 496 A.D. Pope Gelasius I proclaimed February 14 to be the feast day in honour of St. Valentine.
Holiday for lovers?
While Valentine’s Day is not a holiday in most countries of the world, it is a day declared a holiday for lovers, the romantics, the Romeos and Juliets of this millennium. Valentine’s Day has become a b(l)ooming commercial success in every nook and cranny of the globe. According to the Greeting Card Association, 25% of all cards each year are Valentine-related cards! 14th February has also become a popular choice for weddings and proposals or marriage.
Hey there, Romeos and Juliets, what are you waiting for? Today is THE day to court your love with a tender letter, poem or private gift.
Now, now, what about myself? Well, for starters, my DH is not a romantic person, so I do not expect a lot from him ;-(
Flowers? Uh-uh. Well, probably it’s all written on my face. I’m not a green thumbed lover. LOL!
Going to the movies? Oh what a cliché. We did that during our courtship phase and now we have logged out of that sphere.
Candlelight dinner for two? For Pete’s sake, 14th February is a Monday and a weekday and the first day of the work week! Our busy work schedules will never accommodate this candlelight dinner!
Something else? Erm…wait a minute, I DID get something else. Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. Nope, I did NOT get a box of chocolates but I got this ….
The message was loud and clear!
By the way, what did you get on St.Valentine’s Day?
No worries if you did not get anything, here’s a love story for you from Taylor Swift. Happy karaoke-ing!
I wish you a cherubic and seraphic day!