By Melarie Mantanona
For the Umatuna Si Yu’os
Feb. 14, or Valentine’s Day, is a day celebrated throughout the world as a day of love commemorated with chocolate, flowers, and cards. But where did this festive day come from?
The beginnings of this popular holiday are traced back to Catholic martyr, St. Valentine of Rome.
St. Valentine was a third-century saint who’s famous for the attribution of Valentine’s Day. While the legends attributed to him could be considered inconsistent, nonetheless, he’s still known throughout the world as the saint of love and father of the holiday.
The most famous legend of him is that he would go around to wed couples during a time when it was considered a severe crime. Valentine is known to have tried to get the emperor, Claudius Gothicus, to believe in Christianity, however, this upset the governor greatly.
The governor sentenced Valentine to death if he didn’t reject his faith. He was beheaded shortly after, having been strong in his faith.
Another known legend accounts that Valentine refused to make sacrifices to pagan gods and was imprisoned until death. During the time that he was imprisoned, he restored the jailer’s blind daughter’s sight and on the day of his execution, a note was found for the girl signed, “Your Valentine.”
He remains one of the most known martyrs of the third-century. St. Valentine is the patron saint of love, young people, and happy marriages. He died in 269 and his feast day is Feb. 14.
As his feast day approaches, let us be reminded that this year it occurs on the same day as Ash Wednesday. The Church calls us to pray, fast, and abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday. Let us not think of the obligatory fasting and abstinence as a burden but rather an opportunity to offer up the usual festivities and treats of Valentine’s Day as a small act of penance.
Information and photo from http://www.catholic.org/saints