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Smell the roses

It's the big day, the sky is a brown mush outside, and pesky old cupid is firing his arrows at anyone who will give him the time of day. But do you really want to be hit?

Published on February 14th 2007.


Smell the roses

Valentine's Day. Isn’t it a load of commercial rubbish? You’ve just got over Christmas and the Easter eggs are in the shops.

Why the hell are you shelling out a tenner on a pink teddy for that bird you’ve only seen twice and can't remember what she looks like.

Where did Valentine ’s Day even come from?

Well…Once upon a time, or so the story goes, Rome was ruled by a truly deplorable character known as Emperor Claudius the Cruel. At the time, he was struggling in getting soldiers to join his army. He believed that this was due to the fact that too many loved up men were reluctant to leave their wives and families. To rectify the situation, he did the only logical thing – he beat down his iron fist and cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome.

Meanwhile, an old Christian priest named Valentine decided to stop (in the name of love) what Claudius the Cruel was doing and began marrying couples (to each other, that is) in secret.

When Emperor Claudius was informed of his naughtiness, Valentine was sent to prison where he remained until his death on February 14 in the year 270.

While Valentine was in prison awaiting his fate, he came into contact with his jailer, Asterius, whose daughter, incidentally, was blind. Resigned to his fate, Valentine thought he may as well show off the magical powers he had failed to mention to anyone before, and miraculously restored the sight of Asterius' daughter. Just before his execution, he asked for a pen and paper from his jailer, and signed a farewell message to her "From Your Valentine," a phrase that lived ever after.

Awww. Romance is well and truly alive. Go and buy that pink teddy why don’t ya.

Ben Patey

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