Sitting at my desk this morning, I heard a bird chirping through the window (I think it was a robin, since those are the only ones I recognize). How long has it been since you’ve heard a chirping bird? I totally forgot about birds since basically October and now I’ve been pleasantly reminded that one day it will be 50 degrees and then one day it won’t be colder than that for MONTHS. Feeling blessed in Illinois suburbia today. Juicy feels it too.
Ok so Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and whether or not you buy Russell Stover chocolates for your sweetheart or for yourself (Ed has priced them to SELL at Jewel) or if you’re a V-Day hater, I thought I’d do a light internet search on St. Valentine and relay the history behind deeply discounted chocolate truffles.
Here’s our guy:
Let’s start with what Catholic.org says, as I believe they are the keepers of the saints. Apparently not much is known about St. Valentine, and in 1969 the Roman Catholic Church even took him out of their calendar because everyone was like, “do we really know this guy?” and the church was like, “ummmmm guess not.” The most common story of St. V is as follows: Valentine’s faith was put to the test when a judge asked him to prove his faith by restoring sight to his blind adopted* daughter. St. Valentine was like, “NO PROBLEM” and brought the little girl’s sight back. The judge immediately converted to Christianity right there along with his 44 family members.
*adopted is not a necessary detail in this story, so I thought it was a lolz that the article included it. They don’t know if anything is true about St. Valentine but they’re like, “do not forget to include that the little girl was adopted!”
Curing the little girl’s sight must have given St. Valentine a confidence boost, because he then went around trying to convert more people to Christianity as well as marry Christian couples (a very serious crime apparently in year 269). He was eventually arrested and while imprisoned, St. Valentine became bros with the emperor of Rome, Claudius.
One day, Valentine was feeling comfortable enough with his new pal to try and convert Claudius to Christianity, but Claudius didn’t want any of it. He was so pissed at Valentine for trying to pull a fast one on him that he had him killed on February 14th. Legend has it that right before Valentine’s head was cut off, he restored the sight of the jailer’s blind daughter (why is everyone blind??), and left the judge’s daughter he had healed in the beginning of the story a note that read, “Your Valentine.” Not exactly the same message I intended when I sent Mitch Peterka a valentine in 4th grade signed “Your Valentine” (my message was “please sit in my desk pod so I can imagine that you are my boyfriend”).
During the Middle Ages, it was believed that birds paired in mid-February (evidence in the beginning of this post). Valentine’s death was eventually linked to the pairing of birds, associating him with romance and devotion, and subsequently a commercial holiday that sells 58 million pounds of chocolate during Valentine’s Day week.
In Catholicism, Patron saints are chosen as special protectors over various areas of life and the things they protect usually overlap with things from their own lives or interests (example: a saint that was interested in nature during his life then becomes the patron of ecologists). So I thought St. Valentine’s list would for sure include love, marriage, courtship, birds, maybe migration, probably candy, and definitely roses.
Well guess what. Junior mints are not on the list! Neither are birds!!
Catholic.org lists Valentine as the Patron Saint of: affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travelers, and young people. …bee keepers? Epilepsy?? PLAGUE?? I see now why he was booted from the calendar.
Have a great Valentine’s Day!