Valentine’s Day. A day to give your lover a chocolate heart. Or your beating heart, served on a plate. You can also send your heart by greeting card, signed or anonymous. There are plenty of pre-printed ones in the shops. You could give a little present. Perhaps even a big one. Or you can curse Valentine’s Day as purely commercial business, which has jumped on Valentine’s day like a hungry fox on a rabbit.
Originally, Saint Valentine’s Day – or simply Valentine’s Day – is a holiday observed on February 14th. Saint Valentine’s Day was first established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD, but was later deleted from the General Roman Calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI. It is celebrated in countries around the world, mostly in the West, although it remains a working day in all of them. Yay, such a great holiday!
It is uncertain whether the feast of that day celebrates only one saint or more early Christian martyrs of the same name. The name Valentine, derives from ‘valens’ (worthy, strong, powerful), was popular in Late Antiquity. One of the Valentines was a holy priest in Rome, who, with St Marius and his family, assisted the martyrs in the persecution under Claudius II. He was apprehended, and sent by emperor to the prefect of Rome, who, on finding all his promises to make him renounce his faith ineffectual, commanded him be beaten with clubs. After that he was beheaded. The execution took place on the 14th of February, about the year 270. Saint Valentine was buried on the Via Flaminia, north of Rome. Yup, truly a day to celebrate…
The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer, the Father of English literature in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering candy and sending valentines (greeting cards).
We have come a long way from clubbing and decapitating to cupids and doves. And to be honest, I prefer the latter!
Have a Happy Day, whether Valentinial influenced or not!