When I travel I love researching the legends and stories of my destinations. Part of that is a curiosity about the origin of rituals, holidays, and traditions…in this case, Saint Valentine’s Day.
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No Flowers or Chocolates for This Saint!
Roses are Red, Violets are Blue…I’m Glad I’m No Saint, Aren’t YOU?
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Typically St. Valentine’s Day conjures up images of romantic, lovey-dovey stuff like hearts and flowers, boxes of chocolates, mushy greeting cards, and the like… Well, this wasn’t exactly the case for this holiday’s namesake, Saint Valentine – in fact, there was no romance for this saint! Furthermore, there are actually three potential Valentines that the day commemorates and in all three cases, they were martyred i.e., imprisoned, tortured, and executed. Yikes, not my idea of romantic or happy ending!
Hearts & flowers now…
We can agree that Saint Valentine’s Day (also known as Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine) is observed on February 14th of each year. So, how did our version of Saint Valentine become the Hallmark version characterized by cupid, declarations of love, romantic evenings, and hearts and flowers? Well, it depends on who you read and who you believe since, as with any good story, it gets embellished a bit over the centuries and, as in this case, can take on legendary (i.e. exaggerated) proportions. But, it all makes for a good story, so….