When I was young, I attended a public school and a Catholic church. This meant that Sunday morning found me in CCD, also known as Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, and when I say “known as” I mean not at all. Now, the classes are called PSR, also known as Parish School of Religion, which is most commonly referred to as CCD.
Although I had been decorating shoe boxes with aluminum foil and doilies for years, it wasn’t until the ripe old age of eight or nine, when I colored a picture in my CCD workbook, that I learned Valentine’s Day was originally known as Saint Valentine’s Day.
In CCD class, they don’t talk a lot about how saints become saints. Speaking of beheading, burning, and torture would send young children running from the building, never to return. And we can’t afford for that to happen; we’re running out of priests, yo’.
But, I was curious. Curiosity is also why my cousin and I used to bake cakes with Tabasco in them, which explains how I know that it actually did kill the cat. I digress.
My curiosity showed me that no one knows much about how St. Valentine’s Day came about. There were three St. Valentines and, as far as I know, none of them decorated shoeboxes with aluminum foil and doilies. What I do know, is that all of them were martyred.
Thus, St. Valentine’s Day was born; because nothing says, “Be mine” like extreme suffering and death.
The feast day for St. Valentine was long-ago removed from the calendar of the Catholic church, leaving card companies and florists free to swoop in and make it less a religious holiday and more of a, “Let’s see you flex your romantic muscles or you can sleep on the couch” holiday.
So, today, when you eat from your heart-shaped box of chocolates, tip the caramel-filled square to St. Valentine. It’s really the least you can do.