On the 14th of February of every year, everyone celebrates being in love. And in this age where social media plays a strong role most of us have to suffer through the ordeal of having to see all the couples wish each other on Valentine’s Day. With the number of check-ins and Instagram posts about #ValentinesDay and the other half complaining about this being nothing more than a commercialized holiday, it’s a wonder some of us in the middle ground didn’t lose our minds.
But that got some of us thinking. What was it about Valentine’s Day that it is remembered even today? Is it really just the day when you suddenly remember that you’re supposed to be madly in love? Or the day when you have to post something romantic?
While growing up, we heard many stories about Valentine’s Day. About how St. Valentine was someone who used to marry couples in secret and was killed for it. But a little digging unearthed the long forgotten truth.
He was a Christian martyr called Valentinus who lived in the third century during the rule of the oppressive Roman Emperor, Claudius II. Under his rule, Claudius II’s subjects could only worship twelve gods. He had made it a crime punishable by death, if someone was found associating with Christians.
Valentinus believed in the ideals of Christ and worshiped Him, without worrying about his life. He was imprisoned, of course, when Claudius came to know about his defiance.
It was Valentinus’ jailor, who on realizing that Valentinus was a man of learning, asked if Julia, his daughter could be brought to him for lessons. Julia was a pretty girl, gifted with intelligence but she had been blind since birth. Valentinus taught her everything he knew, including his ideals of Christ.
During the last week of Valentinus’ a miracle took place. Influenced by Valentinus for he had told her that God hears all prayers and answers them, Julia prayed. There was a brilliant flash of light and Julia cried out that her vision was restored! She had prayed day and night to God to be able to see and finally He had answered!
On the eve of Valentinus’ death, he wrote a letter to Julia asking her to stay close to God. He had signed the letter, “From your Valentine,” from where originated the phrase that is used to this date. 14th February, 270 A.D. was the day when Valentinus was executed.
So on the anniversary of his death, we celebrate love and friendship. On St. Valentine’s Day. Though these days it’s more of what gifts to buy, to crib about being single and to make endless posts on social media. The story of Valentinus and his student/friend Julia is lost in the pages of history…and 14th February is now simply referred to as the Day That Celebrates Love.
What were the stories you heard about Valentine’s Day? Do let us know!
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