723. St. Valentine’s

Losing Your Head Over Love

There are many St. Valentine’s it turns out. However an amalgam of them tells a dark story of an imprisoned Roman Priest or an Italian Bishop. Either way, St. Valentine continued to marry couples in order that the grooms wouldn’t be conscripted to go to war. He also healed his jailer’s daughter from blindness and helped convert their whole family to Christianity. For this… bam, he was beheaded. So the story goes…

Click for the history of St. Valentine

And becoming someone’s Valentine? Where did that get started. Supposedly before the Saint lost his head he sent letters to the jailer’s healed daughter signing them from “your Valentine.” And it didn’t become romanticized until a few things happened. One the Christians wanted to replace a pagan ritualistic observance called Lupercalia where couples got whipped with skins of dogs and goats to promote fertility. Don’t try this at home. And it seems there was a version of the key game as well where names were drawn from urns pairing couples up. Then came Chaucer the English poet and romanticism. He wrote some lines about birds being paired up on Valentine’s days then noble men would write poems to give to objects of their desire… inspired by Chaucer. They would send their Valentines. Now you know.

Jeff Chaucer

St. Valentine and his marrying ways. A good thing.

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