From Your Valentine

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Quenjule Slaven.

Love may not be what makes the world go around, but it is what makes life worth living (so I’ve been told). Maybe that is why billions of people have dedicated a day to celebrate romance. Valentine is a day for red hearts, candy, roses, balloons, cards and jewellery, but not a day for appliances (sorry Mum).  Did you know that more roses are sold on this day than any other in the year?  All around the world, it is the day that you show your love by buying something for that special someone.

That’s what Valentine’s Day is supposed to be all about, right?   Well, maybe not.  St Valentine’s Day falls on the 14th of February and is a celebration of love.  It is one of the most widely celebrated unofficial holidays.  If there is somebody you really like, you can send a card to them and not say who it’s from.   Instead of writing your name on the card, you could put “From your Valentine” and that keeps them guessing about who you really are.  

So how did this day come about anyway?  The stories of saints are interesting from many points of view.  Saints are extremely brave, good people.  Many places and days throughout the year are named after saints.  The life of each saint sums up a certain special something.  Here is the real story of how Valentine came about:

Two thousand years ago, the most powerful army in the world belonged to the Romans.  The Romans were so strong that they conquered the whole of Europe and parts of Africa and Asia.  With power comes riches and of course they grew a little bit lazy.  Life in the army was harsh and many of the soldiers longed for comfort of home.  Like most people, they wanted to get married and have families.  The Emperor Claudias II grew worried that his army was growing soft.  He made a law that no soldier was allowed to get married.  It was thought that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers because married soldiers might be afraid of what happened to their wives or families if they died.  By that time many of the soldiers were Christians, and one of their leaders was a Bishop called Valentines.  He believed that if a man and woman loved each other, they should get married.  Bishop Valentines decided that soldiers should get married in his church even though now it was against the law.  The soldier’s weddings were meant to be kept secret, but as you know secrets are sometimes hard to keep and soon the word got out.  Poor Valentine got arrested and was brought before the Emperor.  He demanded that Valentine stop helping soldiers to marry and instead pray to the gods of Rome.  When Valentine refused, the Emperor tortured and sentenced him to death.  

While Valentine was imprisoned, the jailer’s blind daughter used to bring him his food.  She and Valentine would spend hours talking to each other and soon they fell in love.  One day Valentine put his hand through the bars of the jail and touched the eyelids of her closed eyes.  When she opened them again, she could see.  It was a miracle. Valentine’s execution was set for the 14th of February.  It was to be a three part execution of beating, stoning and decapitation, all because of his stand for Christian marriage.  On his last night, he wrote his final message to his beloved and signed his love letter “from your Valentine,” - the very first valentine’s letter ever.  

This took place in the year 269 AD and ever since, lovers have sent messages on February the 14th with the same signature.  

I hope every 14th of February you receive a Valentine card or something special, but if not, then remember you’re not alone.   There are many loved ones in our lives to express love and appreciation to.  Most mothers and fathers, wives and husbands hope to receive a loving gesture, perhaps an awesome dinner in a nice (not cheap) restaurant, or have a meal cooked for them.  Regular kisses, hugs and “I love you” is the best gift day after day, just to let our parents know they are loved for everything they do for us children.  It is just as important to show a little act of kindness the other 364 days of the year to those who don’t come to mind.  I guess that is because we only have today.  We may not be promised tomorrow. 

Candy will disappear, flowers will die, balloons will fly away and cards may get lost but the love that is shared with one another will never be forgotten.  May you find ways to always show some act of kindness to those whom you love before and after Valentine’s Day this year.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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