One Confused Valentine

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Since I am completely ignorant concerning the lives and traditions of saints I set out to do some research on St. Valentine in preparation for his commemoration. I was hoping to find a good sermon illustration.

I am now more confused than when I began.

What historians seem to know for sure is that there are at least eleven St. Valentines and the particular Valentine associated with this date was actually removed from the Catholic Calendar of Saints in 1969. He was known as Valentine of Rome and was martyred in 269 AD. There are legends that associate him with the promotion of romantic love, but little is actually know about him.

As with most Christian holidays there is a possible connection between St. Valentine’s Day and an earlier pagan fertility festival—though the link is tenuous.

The first mention of Valentine’s Day associated with romantic love is in Geoffery Chaucer’s poem “Parlement of Foules,” from 1382. And then I read that even that may be a mistranslation.

I give up.

The origins of Valentine’s Day appear to be as mysterious as the love that it celebrates. And, like love, it is sometimes better to stop thinking and analyzing and start enjoying.

So a Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your loved ones.

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