The second you set foot onto the street you notice red flowers, ‘I love you’ teddy bears and couples everywhere, and according to Durex the condom sales are about 25 % higher than the usual. Everyone is ‘excited’. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Back in the year 269 AD, when Claudius II ruled Rome, it was a completely different situation. Legend says he believed that marriage was a distraction for his soldiers, so he abused his power over the people and banned them from getting married. But for every dictator, there’s always that person who rebels, and in this case, he was St Valentine, a roman priest – hero – at the time. He continued to arrange marriages in secret and give people a happy ending until the Emperor found out and sentenced him to death.
The story doesn’t end there though. A rebel through and through, St. Valentine fell in love with the daughter of one of his jailers and sent her a letter, right before his death, signed with the now famous line, “from your Valentine.”
In honour of the fact that he had – in the words of Father Frank O’Gara – laid his life upon the line for what he believed, the church decided to commemorate him. They took the Roman festival of fertility, Lupercalia, which was celebrated around the time when St. Valentine was killed, and turned it into a Christian celebration. Now, Valentine’s day is a tradition celebrated worldwide. It should be a reminder that love throughout the decades has been a lot more than just red commercialized branding and cheesy Tamer Hosny love songs, it was worth unconditional love and sacrifice.