February 13, 2016

Celebrate Valentine's Day the right way

Salutations, Hanlin Family!

*I originally wrote this post back in 2012, and have decided to revisit it this year. Thanks to the assistance of my lovely roommate, it has been updated. It's nice living with another writer.

On this the eve of Valentine's Day,  I'd like just to share a few thoughts, but first let me tell you a bit about the man whose life (and death) we will wittingly or unwittingly celebrate tomorrow: St. Valentine.  

Mystery surrounds the life of Valentine, though tradition holds that he was born on April 16 in an unknown year, and the Nuremberg Chronicle (an illustrated Biblical paraphrase printed in 1493) holds his first known biography. The Chronicle tells us he resided in Rome, faithfully carrying out his medical and priestly duties until he was discovered celebrating the marriage of a Christian couple and captured by the soldiers of Emperor Claudius II. When stoning failed to kill him, he was beheaded and buried outside the Flaminian Gate on 14 Feb 269.

During his imprisonment, one of Valentine's jailers learned of the man's medical prowess, and brought his blind daughter to the prisoner. Valentine healed the girl's blindness, and later penned a farewell note to the girl on the eve of his martyrdom, signing it "from your Valentine."  He is venerated as the patron saint of affianced (engaged) couples, bees, and happy marriages.

So what exactly is "Valentine's Day?"