Today we are celebrating Valentine’s Day, or the day of hearts. Couples from all over the world are getting giddy in cherishing this romantic occasion, but where exactly did this start? Well, it all began with a holy priest having his head chopped off.

Around 278 AD, bloody kilings were rampant in Rome, thanks to a war freak emperor named Claudius the Cruel. During his rule he wanted to strengthen his military forces, but at the same time he was annoyed by the Roman men’s strong attachment to their wives and families, thus they became unwilling to join the army.

In order to get them join the army, Claudius prohibited all weddings and engagements in Rome. A priest named Valentine meanwhile saw this injustice, so he defied the emperor’s wishes and continued with his job in officiating marriages, this time in secret.

When Valentine’s clandestine weddings were finally out in the open, Claudius ordered for him to be executed. He was arrested and brought to the Prefect of Rome, who ordered him to be beaten to death and beheaded on February 14.

According to legend, during his last days in jail, Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter, who became his friend while in prison. It was signed, “From your Valentine.”

For his sacrifice, Valentine was named a saint.

Well, this is by far the most ‘romantic’ version of the Valentine’s Day legend. Other versions involve martyrdom too, but they’re not as emotional as this. It’s still an ongoing debate as to how Valentine’s Day became a tradition, and who Valentine really was.

Anyway, enjoy the day of hearts, everyone!

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