Valentine's Day can be a fun day for a date. The modern tradition is about being romantic, giving small gifts or cards, and having a nice dinner for two. For me, it doesn't have to be a big deal. I'm not into flowers. Last year, I didn't really give it much thought, but my guy surprised me with a very sweet card and some chocolate. If you know me, you know that I enjoy really dark chocolate.
So this thinking about tradition got me thinking about where Valentine's Day came from. There are several different stories, and many Saint Valentines. There are two or three martyred Valentines honored on February 14th.
Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni were both martyred and buried on the Via Flaminia, which is a Roman road (they were separated by about a century). The third St. Valentine is said to have died in Africa on February 14th.
Valentine's Day gained the romantic element in the 14th century, and by then people seem to have forgotten which Saint Valentine it was about!
Mentioned in a medieval book about saints is the story of Saint Valentine. St. Valentine was persecuted for being Christian and the Roman Emperor Claudius II interrogated him himself. Claudius tried to covert Valentine to paganism, but Valentine instead tried to convince Claudius to convert to Christianity. Claudius sentenced him to death, and locked him up. While in jail waiting, Valentine healed the jailer's daughter.
It seems the first romantic element was added by Chaucer when he composed a poem to honor the engagement of England's Richard II and Anne of Bohemia.
It's still a bit fuzzy how a day to honor Christian martyrs morphed into a day to be romantic and give cards and chocolate and flowers.
This year, Valentine's Day is on a Saturday. It looks like my guy will be working late, and then we're planning on hanging out with friends the next day.