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The History of Valentine’s Day

Everyone knows what Valentine’s Day means today–it’s a time to ship and obtain flowers, sweets, and different romantic items; a time to point out our appreciation for our vital different; typically, a time to honor the romance in our lives. However most of us do not realize that Valentine’s Day has a protracted history–and a lot of it had little to do with romantic love.

Valentine’s Day is shrouded in legend, however not a lot is understood concerning the precise historical past of the day. The earliest associations with Valentine’s Day date from the time of the Roman Empire, when fertility rituals usually occurred within the month of February. In calendars from the time of the traditional Athenians, the time between the center of January and the center of February was referred to as “Garmelion,” and was related to the wedding between Zeus and Hera. Since Zeus was hardly a mannequin husband, this isn’t a blindingly romantic affiliation.

Throughout the Roman fertility ritual of Lupercalia, up to date accounts inform of younger noblemen working by means of the streets of Rome stark bare, hanging anybody they met with leather-based thongs. Ladies would deliberately get of their method, believing that the strike fostered being pregnant and simple supply. Fascinating…however not very romantic.

St. Valentine himself is one other thriller. There are a number of legends surrounding the “St. Valentine” determine. The earliest recognized legends say that St. Valentine was arrested for being Christian, and questioned in individual by Emperor Claudius of Rome. Legend has it that the Emperor appreciated Valentine, and tried to get him to transform to paganism in order that his life is likely to be saved. In fact, Valentine refused–and tried to transform the Emperor to Christianity as a substitute. He was executed for his troubles.

This legend has no affiliation to romance, and all through the years, writers have tried to make the legend extra intently related to love. In a single, Valentine is a Christian priest dwelling throughout the time of Emperor Claudius. In keeping with legend, Claudius was attempting to recruit males for the Roman Military–and failing. The lads had been refusing to go away their wives. Claudius grew to become offended sufficient to forbid any new marriages all through the Roman Empire. Valentine refused to honor the Emperor’s decree, secretly marrying many earlier than he was discovered, thrown in jail, and ultimately killed. One other legend claims that he cured his jailor’s daughter of blindness earlier than he died.

Truly, there are a number of holy males named Valentine who might be the saint in query. Considered one of them was certainly a Roman priest; one other was a bishop, and a 3rd was a martyr believed to be from the Roman province of Africa. St. Valentine’s Day was not declared a vacation till 496, when Pope Gelasius I gave it a date of February 14th. Even then, it was celebrated as a standard feast day to honor the saint, with no connection to romance. The pope described St. Valentine as amongst saints whose “names are reverenced amongst males, however whose deeds are recognized solely to God.” His birthplace and date of beginning had been unknown.

The primary recognized affiliation of Valentine’s Day with love got here from Geoffrey Chaucer. In his poem, “Parlement of Foules,” written in 1382, Valentine’s Day was stated to be the day when all of the birds selected their mates for the yr. The poem was written to honor the engagement of England’s King, Richard II, to Anne of Bohemia. The poem alludes to this as an outdated and venerable custom; nonetheless, there are not any data of Valentine’s Day as a romantic vacation earlier than this time. It is probably that Chaucer was the daddy of our modern-day vacation.

Valentine’s Day took off quickly after that–it slot in completely with the French the Aristocracy’s ongoing infatuation with courtly love. Whereas the time period “courtly love” wasn’t coined till the late 1800’s, the rules of it may be present in literature relationship way back to the 12th century. On this idealized imaginative and prescient of romance, a knight or nobleman would fall in love with a phenomenal woman–always a girl of a better class, and normally anyone else’s spouse. His love can be unattainable, however he would nonetheless work to make himself worthy of her by endeavor harmful quests in her title and performing any harrowing activity she may ask for. Courtly love is discovered in every single place in literature from the legends of King Arthur to the poetry of Plutarch and Shakespeare.

Throughout the 1400’s, a “Excessive Courtroom of Love” was based in Paris. It was an try to use the language of regulation on the time to romantic conflicts together with betrayals, violence towards ladies, and contracts of affection. The court docket was established on Valentine’s Day, and its judges had been chosen primarily based on the eloquence of their poetry.

The earliest recognized valentine was despatched from the Duke of Orleans to his spouse. The Duke was being held within the Tower of London after the English military captured him on the Battle of Agincourt. The valentine was a rondeau, addressed to the Duke’s “Valentined spouse.”

The custom of exchanging love notes and playing cards on Valentine’s Day continued for a number of centuries, and was ultimately exported to the New World. Round 1847, Esther Howland, the daughter of a stationery-store proprietor, started mass-producing Valentine’s Day playing cards. The playing cards had been fabricated from embossed paper and lace, and Esther claimed to have been impressed by a Valentine given to her by a sweetheart in England.

At present, Valentine’s Day is widely known by everybody from kids to adults. Subsequent time you signal your title to a Valentine’s Day card or decide up a Valentine reward for the one you love, bear in mind the mysterious origins of the holiday–it’s positive to make your expertise of it richer.

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