This year we celebrate Valentine’s Day on a Tuesday, February 14th. Reservations at restaurants and special plans are already in the works by wise lovers wanting to surprise, woo and possibly propose. And special breakfast, lunch or dinner menus created by Pinterest driven moms and dads for their offspring.
Ever wondered how February 14 became the day on which we celebrate and explore love in all its many ideals?
According to the world wide web, folklore and hearsay, there are many differing opinions on how Valentines Day originated.
One story says that when the Roman Empire reigned, a festival every February was held in honour of the God of Fertility and during this time, young men would choose their mate.
When an Emperor named Claudius came around, he outlawed all marriages in fear that the men would not be able to fight. Young couples still fell in love though and still wished to marry and they took these desires to the Catholic Bishop Valentine who, understanding love, began to secretly marry couples. [Date of approx. 270 AD]
When mean old Emporer Claudius found out, he had Valentine arrested and ordered put to death. While waiting in jail, Valentine began exchanging letters with the jailers daughter and soon had fallen in love with her. The day he was to be beheaded, he wrote her one last note and signed it: From Your Valentine…
Another story points to Christianity in 496 A.D outlawing the pagan Lupercian Festival and replacing it with a day in February to honour the martyr St. Valentine….
A third story as to the origin of passing out cards stems from a French Count who was captured and imprisoned in London. From his cell he wrote his wife letters, including a passionate set of poems which he sent to her in February…
At the turn of the 20th century, a new form of Valentines Day card appeared, called the Penny Dreadful. Up until this point, cards were relatively expensive but the Penny Dreadful changed all that.
They were just what the name implied, costing only one cent and completely bad. The cards were cheaply made, the artwork was amateurish and the colouring was uneven. On top of that, the verses printed on them were more often insults, taking swipes at old maids, teachers and the like. Still, their low cost kept them popular for years.
For hundreds of years, Valentines Day has been a day of symbols. You can hardly go anywhere without seeing a rose (as a symbol to Venus, the Goddess of Love), images of doves and lovebirds (who mate for life) or hearts. The heart was thought to be the centre of all emotion. People believed that when they gave a heart, they were truly giving all of their love and emotion.
Its past aside, Valentines Day is a time set aside that reminds us to tell all our loved ones just how much we care about them. Family, friends, co-workers, classmates, neighbors and even pets can “be your valentine”.
How will you celebrate this year?