Last week we had Valentine’s Day, named after St Valentine, so I decided to find out who exactly this saint was and why he’s such a big deal when it comes to celebrating romantic love. I found out that St Valentine is not only the patron saint of romantic love but of epileptics and beekeepers too. That’s some weird combination in my view though I do admire his multitasking. I don’t know how he became the patron saint of epileptics or beekeepers but I did find out how he became associated with romantic love.
At the time of Emperor Claudius of Ancient Rome, there was a problem with getting males to join the military. At that time a strong army was one of the main reasons that Ancient Rome was the world power. Claudius believed that unwillingness to join the army was due to an attachment to wives and families. Soldiers were often delegated to foreign lands to conquer or to help control already conquered land and therefore were absent from loved ones for extended periods of time. To combat this problem Claudius thought to ban all marriages and engagements hoping that this decree would reduce any attachments other than to serve Rome. Valentine, a holy priest in Ancient Rome defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered he was put to death by being beheaded on February 14 in approximately 270AD. This is what contributed to his canonisation and becoming a saint.
As for Valentine’s Day, when I was young and with my first love our first Valentine’s Day was a disaster so I’ve held little expectation for Valentine’s Day ever since. I gave my first love a thoughtful gift yet received nothing in return, at first. His explanation was that we needed to save for a future together and I accepted this logic till later that day. In the late afternoon, a group of our friends had gathered at a beer garden. A pretty female approached our table selling individual roses. My love bought a flower for each female seated at our table including, by now, fuming me.
I waited till we got in the car to go home before I verbally vented and whipped him with that flower. “The only sentiment this flower has was for you to show off publicly, nothing to do with affection for me”, I admonished. I ended with “saving for our future sure went out the window fast!”, and threw the flower out the car window to emphasise my point. Needless to say that Valentine’s Day didn’t end with lovemaking. I became a Valentine’s Day cynic and found this negative attitude as a positive to serve me in life. My jaded attitude held me in good stead. I’m never disappointed on St Valentine’s Day due to low expectations and if I do receive a genuine token of love on that specific day it’s a bonus.
My current love always remembers to send me a Valentine’s Day card with beautiful sentiments written within. He does the same for my birthday and Christmas. Nothing showy and all heartfelt. A beautiful sentiment of value that I can keep and treasure, which just goes to show it really is the thought that counts when that thought is true and genuine. My first love turned me into a Valentine’s Day grinch. My latest love has helped to somewhat cure that part of me.