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Saint Valentine

There is a lot of confusion about how Valentine’s Day came to be.  We’ve all heard of St. Valentine, but after that it’s all a mess of pieces of legend and Hallmark slogans.  Her Campus is here to tell you a little bit about the man behind what is arguably the most hated holiday.


St. Valentine was a third century Roman Saint.  There are numerous legends about him.  According to one legend, he was arrested for marrying Christian couples and otherwise aiding Christians who were being persecuted by Emperor Claudius in Rome.  Claudius ended up growing fond of his prisoner; that is, until Valentine tried to convert the Emperor.  One thing the stories seem to agree upon is that the Emperor then condemned Valentine to death.  He was beaten with clubs and stones, and when that failed to kill him, he was beheaded.  This all went down on February 14th, which is why we celebrate Valentine’s day on the 14th.  Kind of screwed up that we’re all stuffing our faces with chocolate and affection to commemorate the day a guy’s head was cut off…  I guess if you’re one of those people who wear black on Valentine’s Day, you’re actually more on the mark than most people.     


So how did we end up celebrating love on the anniversary of an old Roman dude’s death?  Some historians say that the traditions we associate with Valentine’s Day were first seen in Chaucer’s Parliament of Foules.  Another possible explanation is that in the Middle Ages, people believed that birds paired off in mid-February.


Whatever your thoughts or beliefs on Valentine’s Day are, I hope you have a chocolate-filled day!    

Evelyn is the Editor-in-Chief of the Amherst branch of Her Campus. She was a features intern at Seventeen Magazine during the summer of 2011 and a features intern at Glamour Magazine during the summer of 2013. She is a French and English major in the class of 2014 at Amherst College. She is also on Amherst's varsity squash team. She is an aspiring travel writer/novelist, and loves running, ice cream, and Jane Austen.
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