Larry’s View

Larry’s view on any and everything.

Valentine day

Valentine Day (or Saint Valentine’s Day) celebrated on the 14 February is the day of Romance, the day for lovers to declare their love to their beloved. Although originally a European custom it has spread around the world and in many countries it is celebrated (sometimes under different names) in addition to their own “Lovers Day”. In some countries the romantic element has been replaced by expressions of friendship or admiration. In fact all these elements can be found in the legends at the root of Valentine’s Day.

Although Valentine Day is named after a Saint (or Saints – there were 11 Saint Valentine’s originally according to the Catholic Calendar prior to 1969) the custom of celebrating love/fertility in the month of February is an ancient one stretching back in time to a Celtic Festival (Iberc), a Roman Fertility Festival (Lubercalia) and the traditional beginning of Spring. Although nowadays Spring officially begins in the USA on the 20 March and in Europe on the 1 March, originally Spring began half way between the December Solstice and the March Equinox, on the 1 or 2 February.

The two Saint Valentines traditionally associated with the 14 February are Saint Valentine of Rome and Saint Valentine of Terni. Both were martyred on the 14 February and some historians believe that they were in fact the same person due to some dispute over the records kept during this period of history. Valentine of Rome was martyred in AD269 and buried along the Via Flaminia. Relics of this Saint are preserved in the Church of St Praxed in Rome and Whitefriars Saint Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland. Valentine of Terni was the Bishop of Interamna (now Terni in Italy), he was martyred in AD 197 and is also buried along the Via Flaminia. His relics lie in the Basilica of Saint Valentine in Terni. Legend says that Saint Valentine performed secret marriage ceremonies for soldiers after they were forbidden to enter into marriage by the Emperor. During his incarceration in prison Valentine (or Valentinus) is said to have miraculously healed the blind daughter of his jailor whom he befriended, he supposedly left a letter for her before going to his death and signed it “from your Valentine”. Those famous words can now be found on many of the more than 1 billion cards sent to people worldwide on this popular occasion.

During the Middle Ages (11th, 12th and 13th Centuries) when Saint Valentine’s Day became associated with romance it was celebrated more with handwritten notes. It is mentioned by Geoffrey Chaucer in a poem, Shakespeare also refers to Saint Valentine’s Day in his play Hamlet. In the year 1400 a High Court of Love existed in Paris on this day when cases of betrayal or violence against women were tried and love contracts negotiated. It was only in the 1840’s in the USA that the tradition of sending printed greetings cards came into being.

However you celebrate Valentine Day, you have the pleasure of knowing that although you are making a personal gesture of love or affection to an individual, you are participating in a centuries old tradition by celebrating one of the most famous and popular days of the year.

Advertisements

February 6, 2008 - Posted by | Blogroll, Valentine

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: