I thought I would share a bit of history behind Valentine's Day. Relevant Magazine has another wonderful insight in their latest newsletter. Check this out:
Some believe that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men so that his crop of potential soldiers would multiply; all current engagements were also nullified. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied the emperor and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. Swooning yet?
When Valentine's actions were discovered, he was arrested and imprisoned by the emperor. While in prison, it is said that Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s blind daughter, whose vision he restored by a saintly miracle. The emperor found out about the healing and ordered that Valentine be beheaded. On the eve of his execution, he wrote a farewell note to the jailer’s daughter, dripping with love and words of affection, signing it “from your Valentine.”
Nowadays, the commercialization of the holiday may have distorted our understanding of the passion of this event by incorporating cards with SpongeBob SquarePants on them signed, “from your Valentine.” However, the original story is as achingly romantic as they come. It is further believed that the “from your Valentine” tradition carried on after the saint’s execution through an annual Roman festival where young men gave handwritten letters of affection to the young women they wished to court. The festival was held on February 14, and determined the romantic fate for young people in the coming year. Fortunately, present-day Valentine cards that kids pass out during class do not determine their romantic destinies, so the switch to candy was probably a smart move in this case—unless arranged marriage is what you have in mind for your children one day.