A Legend of Saint Valentine

Damian Robin and Evan Mantyk, Contributing Writers

As February 14th approaches, Valentine’s Day cards pop up, bouquets of flowers flourish, succulent chocolate boxes abound. Romantic thoughts blossom into a rainbow of gifts—earrings, jewelry, charms, cufflinks, patterned scarves, and more.

At the Shen Yun Shop we’re ready to celebrate with you the splendid treasures from the vault of traditional Chinese culture like our Orchid Hand Fan Charm, our Lotus Flower Earrings, or our Ruyi Ring. Each of these delicate and finely crafted pieces is infused with the inner virtues of thousands of years Chinese civilization and its essential belief in the divine.  

In fact, Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to appreciate the rich traditional heritage of humankind. The day itself has a heritage steeped in traditional values and belief in the divine as well.

 In fact, Valentine’s Day is also known as St. Valentine’s Day and at its root celebrates a Christian saint, Saint Valentine, who died for his faith in 269. His death was part of the persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire, before the Empire legalized the practice and became predominantly Christian itself about fifty years later.

According to legend, Saint Valentine was a Christian priest who was once imprisoned. He had defied the orders of the Roman Emperor by marrying couples who came to him with a genuine wish to be married—a wish he felt he could not rightfully deny in the eyes of God. At the time, soldiers were relieved from military duty if they had been just married, so his actions were seen as subversive by the authorities who needed men for their armies. Saint Valentine’s commitment to allowing the marriages of couples despite his facing punishment and death led to him being associated with Romantic love and couples today.

Also, during his lifetime, Saint Valentine brought others to his faith as well, leading to an improvement in their moral character and to miraculous healings for those who were sick. Those healed included a blind maiden who turned out to be the daughter of a powerful Roman leader. This was the same leader who had imprisoned Valentine for refusing to stop marrying couples and renounce his faith. The daughter, now healed of her blindness, continued to secretly communicate with Valentine. His letters responding to her were signed “Your Valentine.” And thus, through legends like this, St. Valentine’s Day was born.

Deeper still in history, before Valentine’s Day, there was already a celebration of Romantic love among the ancient Romans (indeed the word “Romantic” comes from the word “Roman”). This celebration also occurred in mid-February and was called Lupercalia. It celebrated the coming of spring and involved a lottery that matched men with women for marrying and starting families. Similar celebrations have occurred in Chinese culture and cultures throughout the world, showing the universal characteristics of true traditional human culture. That is to say, this is something everyone can cherish!

We at the Shen Yun Shop wish you and your loved ones a happy St. Valentine’s Day!

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