Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Story of St. Valentine

Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day happens every year on February 14. Red and pink hearts, along with chubby cupids, decorate stores, offices, and classrooms. Children often make cards to give to their friends and their families. Adults make or buy special cards for the people they love. Friends may give gifts of candy, flowers, jewellery or clothing.
The cards given on Valentine's Day are called "valentines." Valentines often have poems written on them. One of the most popular Valentine's poem is the following:
Roses are red;
Violets are blue;
Sugar is sweet,
And so are you.
Valentine's Day is not a legal holiday. This means that businesses and schools are open. Mail is delivered. But Valentine's Day is still a very special day. Valentine's Day is the perfect opportunity to tell someone "I'm glad you're my friend," or "I love you."
1. When is Valentine's Day?
2. Who do children give cards to?
3. What kinds of gifts may be given on Valentine's Day?
4. What are the cards given for Valentine's Day called?
5. Why is Valentine's Day a special day?

The Story of St. Valentine (Legend One)

St. Valentine was a Christian priest who lived in 270 A.D. (270 A.D. means 270 years after Christ was born.) At that time, the Roman government controlled much of the world.

The Roman government needed many soldiers to protect its lands. The Emperor Claudius II decided that married men did not make good soldiers because they wanted to stay at home with their wives and children. He made a very strange law that said young men were not allowed to marry. He also said that any priest who married a young couple would be put to death.
A priest named Valentine disobeyed the Emperor. He secretly married many young couples. When the Emperor found out, he had Valentine imprisoned. Valentine was beheaded for his disobedience on February 14. Since Valentine had helped lovers, the day he died became a day for people to express love for others.
1. When did St. Valentine live?
2. Why did the Roman government need many soldiers?
3. What strange law did the Emperor make?
4. How did St. Valentine break the law?
5. What to we do on the day of his death?

The Story of St. Valentine (Legend Two)

The Roman government did not like the Christian religion, so Christians were persecuted and were not allowed to worship as they pleased. The Roman government thought they could get rid of the Christian faith by persecuting Christians.
A priest named Valentine continued to practice faith in spite of the persecution. He refused to worship the Roman gods. This made the Emperor Claudius II very angry. Claudius II had Valentine arrested and put into prison.
Valentine spent one year in prison. The prison was very uncomfortable. He had to sleep on a cold, hard floor, and he had very little food. But Valentine was not sad. He had always been kind to children, and they remembered his kindness. The children threw flowers and kind notes to him through the prison bars. Valentine had made friends with the jailer's blind daughter. She would bring these notes and flowers to him. Whenever he could, Valentine sent notes back out to the children.
The Emperor Claudius II was impressed by Valentine's kindness. He said that Valentine could go free if he would worship the Roman gods. Valentine refused. Instead, he did a very bold thing and tried to convert Claudius II to Christianity. This made Claudius II very angry. He said that Valentine would be put to death.
During the days before his execution, Claudius prayed for the jailer's blind daughter, and she regained her sight. Valentine was beheaded on February 14. Before he died, he wrote a farewell message to the jailer's daughter and signed it "From Your Valentine." Some people say we remember his death by sending kind messages to our friends.
1. Did the Roman government like Christians?
2. What does "persecute" mean?
3. Why was Valentine thrown in prison?
4. Who were Valentine's friends?
5. What bold thing did Valentine do?
6. How did the Emperor respond?
7. How do we remember Valentine's death?