A brief history of Valentine’s Day (along with a few bad gifts)

Valentine’s Day was not always a day dedicated to commercialism pointedly directed at couples.    A brief refresher of the history of Valentine’s Day may be just what we need.

Saint Valentine of Rome was martyred on February 14th around AD 269.  There were two other saints mentioned, also named Valentine, who were also supposedly martyred centuries ago.  Wiki (that’s right, I’m doing the unthinkable and quoting Wiki) has an interesting “Romantic Legend” regarding Saint Valentine.

“St Valentine was persecuted as a Christian and interrogated by Roman Emperor Claudius II in person. Claudius was impressed by Valentine and had a discussion with him, attempting to get him to convert to Roman paganism in order to save his life. Valentine refused and tried to convert Claudius to Christianity instead. Because of this, he was executed. Before his execution, he is reported to have performed a miracle by healing the blind daughter of his jailer.

Since Legenda Aurea still provided no connections whatsoever with sentimental love, appropriate lore has been embroidered in modern times to portray Valentine as a priest who refused an unattested law attributed to Roman Emperor Claudius II, allegedly ordering that young men remain single. The Emperor supposedly did this to grow his army, believing that married men did not make for good soldiers. The priest Valentine, however, secretly performed marriage ceremonies for young men. When Claudius found out about this, he had Valentine arrested and thrown in jail.”

Why am I sharing this story?  Simply because in America we sometimes take our freedoms for granted.


Now, for a bit of advice for my male readers:

A few bad gift ideas:

  • Vacuum Cleaner (or really anything to clean the house) – no matter how much you need a new one, this is not the day
  • Car Wash Gift Certificate – I know they may have a flashy sign, but this is just laughable
  • Quiznos Gift Card – Nothing says “I love you” like a $3 sub (I guess you could include Subway in this as well)
  • Gym membership – Would you really imply that she needs to exercise more?
  • Fishing Rod – (Only in Sussex County would I feel the need to add this, but I do)  No boating accessories either, including engines (you know who you are)
  • Waxing Kit – Whether she needs it or not, save that for the anniversary


Above all, make sure you get her at least a card!


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