(Painting by Ithelda, Deviantart.com)
Love, bees and honey are intertwined throughout history. For instance, Cupid dipped his arrows in honey, Ra, the sun god’s tears turned to bees who helped him court his lost love, and of course honey is a renowned love potion – so-much-so that couples go on a honeymoon after the wedding where they were instructed to drinking copious amounts of honey wine (read the Honeymoon chapter in our free book, ‘The Celebrated Story of Honey Wine’ and previous blog post).
So bees are a symbol of love and beekeepers symbolize the protection of love and marriage.
Now to St. Valentine, did you know, in addition to being the patron saint of love, St. Valentine was the patron saint of beekeepers? How unbeelievably cool is that?
While there are a few competing stories, this is the most compelling: St. Valentine lived in 3rdCentury Rome at the height of the Roman empire, but was made the patron saint of love and beekeepers some 250 odd years later in 496 A.D.
As the story goes, the Roman Emperor Claudius ‘the Cruel’ banned marriages because he thought married men were too attached to their wives -making poor soldiers. Valentine was to have non of this, so he began secretly marring couples and was, unfortunately, caught. Alas, Valentine was ahead of his time.
Claudius ordered Valentine’s arrest and brought before the Prefect of Rome who sentenced him to die (in a very terrible way, even by Roman standards!). He was beaten to death with clubs and beheaded. The sentence was carried out on February 14, circa 270.
St. Valentine is believed to help those who pray for a sweet honey season and beekeepers asking for intercession for their safety. His feast day is February 14, which of course was the day he was executed.
Happy Valentine’s Day from the Honey Wine Company and thanks for reading the story of St. Valentine ????