InspirEmail

InspirEmail No 53 - February 14, 2005
'Inspirational messages to refresh the spirit and boost the emotional bank account'
 

The History of the Day

February 14, 269 A.D.

Let me introduce myself. 'My name is Valentine.' I lived in Rome during the third century. That was long, long ago! At that time, Rome was ruled by an emperor named Claudius. I didn't like Emperor Claudius and I wasn't the only one. A lot of people shared my feelings.

Claudius wanted to have a big army. He expected men to volunteer to join. Many men just did not want to fight in wars. They did not want to leave their wives and families. As you might have guessed, not many men signed up. This made Claudius furious. So what happened? He had a crazy idea. He thought that if men were not married, they would not mind joining the army. So Claudius decided not to allow any more marriages. Young people thought his new law was cruel. I thought it was preposterous and I certainly wasn't going to support that law!

Did I mention that I was a priest? One of my favourite activities was to marry couples. Even after Emperor Claudius passed his law, I kept on performing marriage ceremonies, secretly, of course. It was really quite exciting. Imagine a small candlelit room with only the bride and groom and myself. We would whisper the words of the ceremony, listening all the while for the steps of soldiers.

One night, we did hear footsteps. It was scary! Thank goodness the couple I was marrying escaped in time. I was caught. (Not quite as light on my feet as I used to be, I guess.) I was thrown in jail and told that my punishment was death.

I tried to stay cheerful. And do you know what? Wonderful things happened. Many young people came to the jail to visit me. They threw flowers and notes up to my window. They wanted me to know that they, too, believed in love.

One of these young people was the daughter of the prison guard. Her father allowed her to visit me in the cell. Sometimes we would sit and talk for hours. She helped me to keep my spirits up. She agreed that I did the right thing by ignoring the Emperor and going ahead with the secret marriages. On the day I was to die, I left my friend a little note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty. I signed it, 'Love from your Valentine.'

It was written on the day I died, February 14, 269 A.D.

I believe that note started the custom of exchanging love messages on Valentine's Day. Now, every year on this day, people remember. But most importantly, they think about love and friendship.

And when they think of Emperor Claudius, they remember how he tried to stand in the way of love, and they laugh - because they know that love can't be beaten!

Some Valentine's Day Traditions

  • In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would wear these names on their sleeves for one week. To wear your heart on your sleeve now means that it is easy for other people to know how you are feeling.
  • In some countries, a young woman may receive a gift of clothing from a young man. If she keeps the gift, it means she will marry him.
  • Some people used to believe that if a woman saw a robin flying overhead on Valentine's Day; it meant she would marry a sailor. If she saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man and be very happy. If she saw a goldfinch, she would marry a millionaire.
  • A love seat is a wide chair. It was first made to seat one woman and her wide dress. Later, the love seat or courting seat had two sections, often in an S-shape. In this way, a couple could sit together - but not too closely!
  • Think of five or six names of boys or girls you might marry, as you twist the stem of an apple, recite the names until the stem comes off. You will marry the person whose name you were saying when the stem fell off.
  • Pick a dandelion that has gone to seed. Take a deep breath and blow the seeds into the wind. Count the seeds that remain on the stem. That is the number of children you will have.
  • If you cut an apple in half and count how many seeds are inside, you will also know how many children you will have.
  • In Wales wooden love spoons were carved and given as gifts on February 14th. Hearts, keys and keyholes were favourite decorations on the spoons. The decoration meant, 'You unlock my heart!

Source - various sites on the world wide web

- A Quote for the Heart -

'Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible - it cannot be seen or measured,
yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment,
and offer you more joy than any material possession could'
Barbara De Angelis

 

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