By Shefa Ali
Whether you like it, or hate it, or believe in it or don’t, but tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Millions of gifts and cards will be given away around the world and I’m sure many romantic dinners will be booked. Did you know there is a true-life story behind Valentine’s Day? It’s a story that teaches us about love, sacrifice and commitment.
In the third century, the Roman Empire was ruled by Emperor Claudius II. He was nicknamed Claudius the Cruel because of his mean leadership style, his love of war and just generally abusing people.
Claudius believed that recruitment for his army was down because Roman men did not want to leave their loves or families, so apparently he banned marriages and engagements in Rome. Thousands hopes and dreams of marriage of couples were destroyed and of course no one dared stand up against the emperor.
A priest named Valentine decided to stand up for love, despite the emperor’s orders. He began to secretly marry soldiers before they went off to war. The emperor found out about the secret ceremonies and he had Valentine thrown into the prison and sentenced to death.
As Valentine was awaiting his execution, he fell in love with a blind girl who was the jailer’s daughter. The night before his execution, with no writing instruments available, it’s said that Valentine wrote her a poem in ink that he squeezed from violets.
Valentine gave his life so that young couples could be bonded together in marriage, they may have killed the man, but not his spirit. Centuries after his death, the story of Valentine’s sacrificing commitment to love was legendary in Rome.
So in essence, Valentine’s Day is really founded on the concept of love within marriage. Are you doing anything to celebrate Valentine’s Day? I believe giving a gift or card, or having a candlelight dinner is nice, but the true spirit of love needs to last throughout the year not just on February 14th.
The author is a consultant and coach. Instagram handle: @miss_shefa, Website: missshefa.com
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