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February 13, 2019
As we prepare to celebrate the ones we love, have you ever wondered why Valentine’s Day exists?
The Roman Emperor Claudius II Gothicus a.k.a Claudius the Cruel, believed that recruitment for the army was down because Roman men wouldn’t leave their loved ones, so he cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. Crushing thousands of couples hopes for marriage. Yet, no one stood up to him.
Until a priest named Valentine, stood up for love. He went against the Emperiors orders and began to secretly marry soldiers before they went off to war. Of course, Emperor Claudius eventually found out about the secret ceremonies and had Valentine thrown into prison and sentenced to death.
As Valentine was awaiting his execution, he fell in love with the jailer’s blind daughter. Valentine is said to have written her a sonnet in ink that he squeezed from violets. Legend has it that his words made the blind woman see again. It was a brief romance because the next day Valentine was executed.
St. Valentine gave his life so that young couples could be married. He may have been killed, but his spirit lived on. His story of commitment to love gained him a sainthood. The Church decided to throw a feast in his honour - February 14th became the day of celebrations because of the ancient belief that birds (particularly lovebirds, but also owls and doves) began to mate on that very day.
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