Valentine’s Day is the holiday for lovers. How did Valentine’s Day become a day of celebration? Valentine was a Roman priest, circa 269 AD. Emperor Claudius II imposed a law prohibiting young men to marry. He believed married men were more emotionally attached to their families, and because of that, would not make good soldiers. Marriage made men weak, so it was prohibited, to assure strong soldiers. Valentine secretly performed marriage ceremonies, and was arrested once he was discovered doing so.
While Valentine was awaiting his fate, he developed a friendship with his jailer, Asterius. Asterius believed Valentine had healed his daughter, restoring her eyesight. Before being executed, Valentine requested a pen and paper to write a goodbye note to Asterius’ daughter, and signed it, “from your Valentine.” Valentine was believed to have been executed on February 14, 270 AD.
I’ve had some pretty special Valentine’s Days, and some, not so special. One Valentine’s Day, I got engaged. We were celebrating Valentine’s Day together. Just before we left for dinner, he got down on one knee (my ex has bad knees, and I thought he lost his balance and fell), and asked me to marry him. I really didn’t see it coming. I didn’t think a gift-giving occasion was an appropriate time to get engaged. I’ve read that an engagement was a contract, and if the contract is broken (i.e. breakup), the ring had to be returned. Coming from a legal background, I thought that made a lot of sense. In a sense, my ring was returned (at least 50% of it) in the property division of my divorce.
I was also served divorce papers on Valentine’s Day, twelve years later. My ex and I had been married a little over 10 years. I moved out in January. On the afternoon of that Valentine’s Day, a process server handed me the papers. Although the divorce was imminent, it caught me off-guard that my ex would file and serve me on that day.
Friends of mine who are in relationships are celebrating by going on romantic weekends, going to Valentine’s parties, or having romantic dinners. One of my friends had surgery recently, and told me that he and his girlfriend are having a simple dinner at home. Since he can’t get out to buy her a present, he wrote her a poem. I told him that his girlfriend is “one lucky girl.” Sometimes, the simplest Valentine’s celebrations can be the best.
I’ve done the romantic weekend (not one of my favorites), the parties, and the dinners. This year, I’m not celebrating the “Holiday for Lovers,” as my boyfriend and I are “taking a break.” I’m thinking about either asking my single friends if they want to go out for an unromantic, un-Valentine’s Day dinner, or maybe just come home from work, pop a frozen dinner in the microwave, and catch up on TV. Most likely, the shows will have a Valentine’s Day theme.