The Spectacle Blog

Happy St. Valentine’s Day

By on 2.14.06 | 6:57AM

No, today isn't for Eve Ensler to vulgarize. It's the feast day of a martyred bishop of the third century. The day's special consecration to lovers came later, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, a very reliable source in my experience. The History Channel's account, which is suspiciously saccharine (maybe because it credits American Greetings, the card company), cites a legend that St. Valentine married soldiers to their loves in defiance of the emperor and even wrote the first valentine. One "lives of the saints"-style account has him as a priest assisting persecuted Christians. And another agrees that he wrote the first valentine, but that it was a note to his daughter on the eve of his martyrdom.

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