It’s Valentine’s Day, How are you doing?

By | February 14, 2011

File:Valentineanddisciples.jpgSaint Valentine of Terni and his disciples.

Historical facts

Numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine. The Valentines honored on February 14 are Valentine of Rome (Valentinus presb. m. Romae) and Valentine of Terni (Valentinus ep. Interamnensis m. Romae).] Valentine of Rome was a priest in Rome who was martyred about AD 269 and was buried on the Via Flaminia. His relics are at the Church of Saint Praxed in Rome, and at Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland.

Valentine of Terni became bishop of Interamna (modern Terni) about AD 197 and is said to have been martyred during the persecution under Emperor Aurelian. He is also buried on the Via Flaminia, but in a different location than Valentine of Rome. His relics are at the Basilica of Saint Valentine in Terni (Basilica di San Valentino).

The Catholic Encyclopedia also speaks of a third saint named Valentine who was mentioned in early martyrologies under date of February 14. He was martyred in Africa with a number of companions, but nothing more is known about him.

No romantic elements are present in the original early medieval biographies of either of these martyrs. By the time a Saint Valentine became linked to romance in the 14th century, distinctions between Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni were utterly lost…

The Early Medieval acta of either Saint Valentine were expounded briefly in Legenda Aurea. According to that version, St Valentine was persecuted as a Christian and interrogated by Roman EmperorClaudius II in person. Claudius was impressed by Valentine and had a discussion with him, attempting to get him to convert to Roman paganism in order to save his life. Valentine refused and tried to convert Claudius to Christianity instead. Because of this, he was executed. Before his execution, he is reported to have performed a miracle by healing the blind daughter of his jailer.

Since Legenda Aurea still provided no connections whatsoever with sentimental love, appropriate lore has been embroidered in modern times to portray Valentine as a priest who refused an unattested law attributed to Roman Emperor Claudius II, allegedly ordering that young men remain single. The Emperor supposedly did this to grow his army, believing that married men did not make for good soldiers. The priest Valentine, however, secretly performed marriage ceremonies for young men. When Claudius found out about this, he had Valentine arrested and thrown in jail.

There is an additional modern embellishment to The Golden Legend, provided by American Greetings to History.com, and widely repeated despite having no historical basis whatsoever. On the evening before Valentine was to be executed, he would have written the first “valentine” card himself, addressed to a young girl variously identified as his beloved, as the jailer’s daughter whom he had befriended and healed, or both. It was a note that read “From your Valentine.” ….

Historian Jack Oruch has made the case that the traditions associated with “Valentine’s Day”, documented in Geoffrey Chaucer‘s Parliament of Foules and set in the fictional context of an old tradition, had no such tradition before Chaucer. He argues that the speculative explanation of sentimental customs, posing as historical fact, had their origins among 18th-century antiquaries, notably Alban Butler, the author of Butler’s Lives of Saints, and have been perpetuated even by respectable modern scholars. In the French 14th-century manuscript illumination from a Vies des Saints (illustration above), Saint Valentine, bishop of Terni, oversees the construction of his basilica at Terni; there is no suggestion here yet that the bishop was a patron of lovers.

via Valentine’s Day – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

So, the romantic part of the St. Valentine story is a happy lie added on much later to the real history involving  the killings of two real men named Valentine who were killed for their religious views?

Another interesting truth about today: The  Heart… is not a heart. The real human heart looks nothing like the Valentine’s Day heart. It looks more like a fist. The red heart we all know is actually a butt, or as changizi puts it, “a Red, Engorged, Upturned Rump“. Surprised? If you didn’t already know this, you may never look at Valentine’s Day hearts the same again.

Some people call this “singles awareness day” (raise your hand if you aren’t in a relationship…) otherwise known as SAD. I hope you aren’t sad, even if you are single. But look on the bright side: if you are sad, according to one study, you won’t eat as much chocolate!

Sadness and joy affected motivation to eat in opposite directions: joy increased and sadness decreased appetite ( p<0·001). In joy, a higher tendency to eat more chocolate was reported ( p<0·001), and chocolate tasted more pleasant ( p<0·001) and was experienced as more “stimulating” than in sadness ( p<0·01).  – sciencedirect

Without the sugar, chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is good for you, so go find some reason to be happy today! Like my logic? All cheekiness asside, it is nice that we have a day to celebrate love, but shouldn’t every day be?

I’ve been eating chocolate every day for years.  I am currently single, not looking, happy and feeling fulfilled by my daily dose of interesting work and play, music, exercise, meditation and blogging about the daily strange news.  Actually I don’t feel “happy” like “woo hoo!” … I feel good, calm, even, steady, at peace… and I call this happy.

How do you really feel today?

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