Valentine’s Day: A Brief History (Some of It True)

Footprints in the Snow

It’s sad that a holiday creates so much pressure to perform.  Do you know that it wasn’t long ago that if you failed to do something for your partner on such a special day, it could get you killed?

I am not making this up.  According to church history, there were three St. Valentine’s.  All of them were killed.  One was a priest, one was a bishop, and no one is sure what the third Valentine did for a living.  But I’m guessing all three were workaholics.  They were gone all of the time, likely work or golf.  This went on for years.  That was hard on the Mrs. Valentine’s.  But worse, when the Mr. Valentine’s were home, they never did anything thoughtful or nice.  They never brought home flowers, made breakfast, said “I love you”, or even left a little shaving cream heart on the mirror.

One day, Priest Valentine goes home empty-handed one too many times.  His wife snaps and kills him.  Not long after that, Bishop Valentine gets home, and yells for a beer.  His wife snaps and kills him.  And I’m sure something similar happened to the third Valentine.

To help us remember to bring home goodies and do nice things from time to time, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as a day to remember to be thoughtful to the one you love.  This day of remembrance got a big lift in 1910 when Joyce C. Hall graciously came to the rescue when he sold the first Hallmark greeting card.  For the last 100 years, we have had no excuse to forget to be nice on February 14.

Now if you could just learn to be a little nicer the other days of the year…

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  1. carol burden says:


    Just another tid bit of information…..Valentine’s started as an ancient Roman holiday called the Lupercalia festival. The Roman girls names were put in an urn and the Roman boys would draw their names. The boys would have to give a gift to the girl whose name they had drawn. The gifts were given on the festival day, February 15th. The pope decided to put a Christian spin on the holiday and thus we have the martyr Saint Valentine….supposedly killed for marrying people in secret.

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