Why I celebrate St Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day will probably mean different things to different people or even different things to different people at different times! For some, Valentine's Day is yet another excuse to shower their loved ones with pressies, be it jewellery or flowers or chocolate. For others it means a visit to Agent Provocateur or Ann Summers as for some couples Valentine's Day is a sure sign that they'll be getting 'lucky' that night, while other couples find it purely a commercial thing and refuse to acknowledge it. For some singles it's a time to gather with other single friends to celebrate their singledom whilst others will be at home alone crying into their Haagen Dazs. And for some, it will mean absolutely nothing,. they won't even register the day!

For me Valentine's Day has meant all of the above at different points of my life. There have been times when I have showered a boyfriend with surprises and gifts and balloons, and cakes and chocolates and champagne and bubble baths, massages and secret escapes and then there have been times when I have found it unfairly pushed upon as a big marketing plan for all types of producers. Most of the time, I do find actually being out with my significant other on the day, quite cringy and would rather not be out at a restaurant on that night when they will be handing out roses and such but then again there have been nights when I have been out on Valentine's and it's been super romantic. I am a huge romantic so I suppose it does take a lot to make me cringe. I don't think anything would light up my face quite as much as receiving a bouquet of red roses on Valentine's Day, that pretty much comes as close to an ecstatic feeling for me as would someone proposing ( I did warn you I am a romantic!).
When I look back, probably my most romantic Valentine's day was when a boyfriend and I were on our way to some grand hotel for a Valentine's getaway weekend and on the way there we decided to get some fish and chips and just sit on the car bonnet and eat it. I remember feeling such intimacy and that to me was my Valentine's Day completed.

No matter how I have felt on any year, good or bad, I always take a moment or two to honour and remember Saint Valentine of Rome; after all he is the reason why Saint Valentine's Day even exists. 

There are different legends about Saint Valentine and also the history of St. Valentine's Day but the one that seems to have placed itself firmly in my heart is this one:

Saint Valentine was a Roman Priest living in the 3rd century when Claudius the second ruled as Emperor. The Roman empire was declining and was under threat, meaning more soldiers were needed to fight. Therefore, Claudius forbade young men to get married as he felt they would not make strong soldiers. At the same time, the church and Christianity were getting stronger and thus encouraging marriage over promiscuity. Young, desperate, lovers would go to Valentine and he would secretly marry them. When Claudius found out he was furious and imprisoned and tortured Valentine.

In prison, one of Valentine's jailors was a man called Asterius, who had a blind daughter. Hearing about Valentine's healing powers, he asked Valentine to help his daughter. After much praying, Asterius' daughter, who may have been called Julia, was cured. It may be that she and Valentine fell in love or at least felt deep love for one another. As Valentine would not convert to Roman Paganism as Claudius demanded of him, he was finally sentenced to die. Before his execution, Valentine wrote a note to Julia and he signed it ' From your Valentine.'

He was then tortured, stoned and finally beheaded. All this for helping lovers seal their love for one another and not giving in to something he did not believe in.

And that for me, is the reason for celebrating Valentine's Day.

Happy Valentine's Day, St. Valentine!

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