By Sam Laughlin
On this day of February 14, millions of people around the world will celebrate with boxes of candy and bouquets of roses delivered to their loved ones. But why does this happen? The history of Valentines Day has morphed through the ages, but it began hundreds of years ago in Medieval Europe. So, pull up a chair, young lovers- this is the history of Valentines Day!
Deep in the heart of the land now called Germany, a noble knight named Prince Herman Klaus Von Valentinar returned from the 6th Crusade with a bag full of gold. Being a man with a gentle heart, he boasted to all his compatriots how he would share this bounty with all the poor peasants in his lands, of which there were many.
On the road, his caravan was attacked by land-pirates, and everyone knows a German land-pirate is not to be trifled with. Though Von Valentinar fought bravely, his gold was taken from him. Not to be undone, the gallant knight followed the pirates through the misty Prussian mists, hoping to find their hideout.
He became lost in the dark, and collapsed near a small cottage. When he awoke, a young maiden tended to his injuries. Von Valentinar found he could not speak, his throat was mysteriously horse from shouting during the previous day’s battle. In a striking coincidence, the young maiden was mute. But, she could write, and Von Valentinar could read.
While his injuries mended, Von Valentinar and the young maiden spent the next few days communicating through small notes. Von Valentinar soon gained his strength and left the maiden, but continued to write to her through messenger. He would sometimes deliver to her small mounds of sugar, the precursor to what we now call candy today.
Von Valentinar meanwhile continued hunting for the now infamous land-pirates, but the trail became quite cold. One night, in a tavern, Von Valentinar found a pair of drunk merchants discussing the land-pirates, and listened closely, learning of a secret hideout in a near by patch of rose bushes. He set-off immediately.
That night, he pushed through thick thorns in the dark for hours, but eventually came across the land-pirate hideout. The land-pirates were tossing their gold treasure in gay fashion, quite pleased with their hoard. Von Valentino removed his sword, heart-puncher, from his sheath, ready to make war. Yet, to his shock, he discovered that the land-pirates had a leader- a female leader. A land-pirate queen. And she was, non other, than the young maiden who nursed his wounds!
His heart was broken! All the love notes! All the mounds of sugar! He was outraged, and tore through the rose patch with gusto speed, tossing heart-puncher this-way and that! He descended on the crowd of land-pirates in a fury of steel and blood. When the battle ended, Von Valentinar stood atop his mountain of gold, surrounded by dead land-pirates. Yet, he kept the land-pirate queen alive, imprisoning her beneath his mountain of gold for all days as punishment for her treachery and lies. He would continue to visit her, however, every February 14th, and pass her an anonymous note of his love, as he could not bare to write his name. And, young lovers, that is how Valentines Day was born.
Okay… so all of that was a complete lie. Valentines Day started as a Catholic holiday to praise some saints, one of whom was named Valentine. Then the British invented anonymous greeting cards in the Victorian era. Then Hallmark got in on it and monopolized the living bejesus out of it.
So yeah. That’s the history of why every guy is shamed into delivering chocolates and flowers to the women in their lives every February. It’s the Catholic Church’s fault.