By Jade Washington
Before there were roses, Valentine’s day card and teddy bears with chocolates, there was Saint Valentine sitting in his prison cell writing his final letter, awaiting his execution. Everyone knows Valentine’s Day as a day of affection, candy, and romance; however, before cupid could shoot with his bow and arrow and strike the hearts of many a man named Valentine first had to come about to originate the famous holiday.
Even though there are many legends regarding Saint Valentine, the one story that holds truth to it is from a special catholic website. The story is set around the third century in Rome, Italy, when Claudius II, an oppressive emperor, ordered all Romans to worship idol gods and made it a crime punishable by death to associate with Christians. Valentine, a Catholic, refused to worship idols and instead follow the ideals of Christ. He later was arrested and imprisoned. While in his confinement, he taught a jailer’s daughter named Julia, about Rome’s history, mathematics, nature, and God. Since she was blind since birth, “she saw the world through his eyes”. As time passed, with prayer every morning and night, she regained her vision back and expressed it with great joy to Valentine. Consequently, on his execution day, he wrote a letter to Julia pleading her to stay close to God writing “ Sincerely, Your Valentine” before he died on February 14.
Thereafter, the Romans created a festival called Lupercalia in the middle of February where boys would draw girls’ names from a box and then they would dance in the festival. Later, near the end of the fifth century, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 to be St.Valentine’s Day in remembrance of Saint Valentine, a martyr. Gradually, in the early 1700s, Americans began exchanging hand-made cards with one another that was made from real lace, ribbons, colorful drawings, and some included written poems.
Today, we still associate Valentine’s Day as the day of love and affection with sweet candy, cuddly teddy bears, and gooey chocolates. Valentine’s Day may not be recognized as when Saint Valentine died, but is known for appreciation, friendship, love and romance. Just remember when Valentine’s Day makes its way around that it first was about friendship, so be like Cupid and strike the hearts of many with your overflowing kindness.