love & happiness
... Lived in Rome during the third century, when it was ruled by the Emperor Claudius. Claudius wanted to have a big army and expected men to volunteer to join. However, many men just didn't want to fight in wars. They didn't want to leave their wives and families. As not many men signed up, Claudius got furious and had a brilliant idea. He thought "if men weren't married, they wouldn't mind joining my army". So -guess what?- Claudius decided not to allow any more marriages - Ridiculous!
As a priest, one of Valentine's favorite activities was to marry couples. After Emperor Claudius passed his law, he secretly kept on performing marriage ceremonies - it must have been quite exciting: a small candlelit room, the bride, the groom, whispering the vows of love, listening for the steps of soldiers. Indeed, one night, he was caught and thrown in jail -while the happy couple successfully escaped. His punishment was death.
Many people threw flowers and notes up to his window while in jail. They too believed in "love" - or the freedom of it. One of those people was the daughter of the prison guard, who visited him everyday to keep his spirits. She -as the prison guard too- agreed that the priest did the right thing by ignoring the Emperor's utterly absurd law. The day he was to die, February 14, 269 A.D., he left his friend a note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty. He signed: "Love from your Valentine." Of course, Claudius ended up with the army he wanted and so on, but some remember -with certain romanticism- how he tried to stand in the way of love when it can't be beaten (tschegga tschegga!).
As far as my logic allows me, that note gave birth to the custom of exchanging love messages on Valentine's Day. But where.the.popping.heck are the expensive dinners and presents in the whole story?!! I'm afraid some bitter and poor (phd stud?) people have modified it to the convenience of their proletarian lives, leaving the presents out (uhf!). But a love message can always come along with a diamond to make the perfect Valentine's Day ever!