Volume No. 18 Issue No. 2 February 2021  

  History of St. Valentine’s Day

     There are few details about the origin and life of the man known as Saint Valentine; however, one of the main deeds he is accredited with is the marriage of Christian couples in Ancient Rome.
   According to the History website, the emperor had to maintain a strong army, but was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. Claudius, who ruled in A.D 41 to 54, believed that Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families. To get rid of the problem, Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.
   It was not until the 1400s, according to the Britannica website, that Feb. 14 was known as St.Valentine’s Day and associated with love. Some scholars assert that Geoffrey Chaucer’s poem, “The Parlement of Foules,” first connected the day with romance. The first letters between lovers referring to St. Valentine’s Day began to appear soon after the poem’s publication in the 14th century. Early Valentine’s Day cards; however, were not necessarily limited to couples. Indeed, some historians suggest that valentines come from the German tradition of friendship cards. Freundschaftskarten, as they are called, were traded during New Year’s Day, birthdays and other anniversaries.
   Over the centuries, St.Valentine’s Day has evolved into a day of romantic connotations, where partners go all out for each other. According to fortunly.com, spending on St.Valentine’s Day in the United States amounted to roughly $20.7 billion in 2019. According to sales statistics, Americans spent $1.8 billion on candy. American consumers spent $886 million on gifts for their pets. Red roses account for 69% of all flowers bought on St.Valentine’s Day, and some $5 billion is spent on jewelry in the U.S.
   One of the most memorable, yet non-romantic, events to happen on Feb. 14 was the St.Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago in 1929. From the History website, George “Bugs” Moran was a career criminal who ran the North Side gang in Chicago during the bootlegging era of the 1920s. He fought bitterly with “Scarface” Al Capone for control of smuggling and trafficking operations in Chicago. On Feb. 14, a delivery of bootleg whiskey was expected at Moran’s headquarters. But Moran was late and happened to see police officers entering his establishment. Moran waited outside, thinking that his gunmen inside were being arrested in a raid. However, the four men dressed as police officers entered Bugs Moran’s headquarters, lined seven of Moran’s henchmen against a wall, and shot them to death. Though Moran and others immediately blamed the massacre on Capone’s gang, the famous gangster himself claimed to have been at his home in Florida at the time. No one was ever brought to trial for the murders, and it remains one of the biggest unsolved crimes in history.
   Other notable, historic events that happened on Feb. 14 include the following:
   According to On This Day website, in 1942, The Polish Resistance movement, The Home Army, formed and would eventually become the largest resistance movement in occupied Europe.
   From legacy.com, in 1951, Sugar Robinson fought LaMotta for the final time in what became known in boxing circles as the “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.” The fight was stopped; Robinson dealing LaMotta the first TKO (technical knock-out) of his career. The event was dramatized for one of the more brutal scenes in Martin Scorsese’s 1980 film “Raging Bull.”
   As stated in onthisday.com, the single “Respect” was recorded by Aretha Franklin, and the song made the Billboard Song of the Year in 1967.
   On the authority of NASA’s website, on Feb. 14, 2000, the spacecraft NEAR Shoemaker made the first ever, human-made object to orbit Eros— the second largest known asteroid in an Earth-crossing orbit.
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