Today Valentine’s Day signifies an unabashed celebration of love, but did you know that February 14th has a rather morbid beginning? One legend tells us that Emperor Claudius Gothicus II decided single men made better soldiers – less distractions to take their mind off battles – and, so, he outlawed marriage for young men. The story goes that Valentine, a third century Roman priest, was arrested, imprisoned and ultimately martyred when he was caught marrying Christian couples who were at the time being persecuted by the Emperor. Because Claudius martyred one, if perhaps two priests named Valentine on February 14th (two years in a row), that date has been honored by the Catholic Church as St. Valentine’s Day.
Ok, we’ll do just about anything for love. But why is chocolate such an important part of this special day? Chocolate has been considered an aphrodisiac since the time of the Aztecs. Purported to inflame desire, the European royalty began giving the objects of their affection chocolates mixed with amber to stimulate their love. Fast forward to America, Valentine’s Day has been celebrated since the 19th century, but gained real traction in the 20th century, especially in schools. We love history, we love chocolate. Some days we just love love!