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The History Behind Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day is interesting. The planning and panic sets in. How will we buy the best gifts for our sweetheart? How will it differ from others in the past or everyone else's gifts? Will he propose? Will she say yes? Should we set our wedding date for this "special day?" It’s supposed to be full of love and cheer, correct? Everyone looks forward to Valentine’s Day, especially if you are in a relationship, agreed?

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NOPE! not I! Call me the odd one out. I believe it’s overrated, overplayed and very predictable. Flowers are priced tripled, candies are quadrupled, stores are chaotic. There is absolutely nothing unique about this so-called holiday of “love”.

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The History Of Valentines Day

The first story I came across during my "Google" research, was that of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church recognizes three saints named Valentine (or Valentinus), all different, all were martyrs. The first, being a priest who was serving during the third century in Rome. Valentine felt that due to the fact, Emporer Claudius II's decision to cease soldiers from marriage (the Emporer believed single soldiers served better), was an injustice, he (Valentine), began to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. During this time, Emporer Claudius II had outlawed marriage for the young men. Upon discovery of Valentine's actions, Emporer Claudius II sentenced Valentine to death.

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The second story surrounds Saint Valentine of Terni. Saint Valentine of Terni was a bishop. He was beheaded outside of Rome by Emporer Claudius II.

Then there is the story of Valentine which was killed for helping to attempt Christians escape prisons in Rome, where they were being tortured and beaten brutally. The legend goes on to state that imprisoned himself, Valentine, sent out the first "valentine", which was a note to a young girl whom he had fallen in love with. She happened to be the jailor's daughter. She was also a visitor of his while he was jailed, before his death. The note was signed "From your Valentine".

 

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Three hundred years after the death of Jesus Christ, the Roman emperors still demanded that everyone believe in the Roman gods. Valentine, a Christian priest, had been thrown in prison for his teachings. On February 14, Valentine was beheaded, not only because he was a Christian, but also because he had performed a miracle. He supposedly cured the jailer s daughter of her blindness. The night before he was executed, he wrote the jailer s daughter a farewell letter, signing it From Your Valentine. Another legend tells us that this same Valentine, well-loved by all, received notes to his jail cell from children and friends who missed him. Information from About.com.

 

No one truly knows if these stories are true. What we do know is true is that by the Middle Ages, in England and France, Valentine would become a very popular saint based on his reputation.

History also shows evidence that Valentine's day was a Pagan holiday. Lupercalia was the Pagan festival for Valentine's day. A fertility festival, dedicated to the Roman god of agriculture,  the Roman founders Romulus and Remus, celebrated on February 15th. The ceremonies included sacrifices of animals and ended with weddings.

Pope Gelasius declared February 14th as St.Valentine's day, Lupercalia was outlawed.

A day of romance, that is what the English and French believed, February 14th, the birds even began mating on this day.

In 1935, a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer, the English poet, Parliament if Foules", was the very first person to record St. Valentine's Day as a romantic celebration.

Valentine's greetings are dated back to the Middle Ages, however, they were not written until after the 1400s. A poem written by Charles, Duke of New Orleans, is the oldest poem written. It was to his wife and dated 1415. During that time, Charles was imprisoned in the Tower of London. He was captured at the Battle of Agincourt.

It is also believed, many years later, King Henry V  hired a writer by the name of John Lydgate to write a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.

So you see, there is death, love, and confusion, ALL surrounding Valentine's day.  The stories are very interesting and make me wonder how true they are. Sounding much like a Shakespeare play.

I am very confused by the fact that schools allow children to partake in Valentine's day, considering nowadays, if a child says something out of the way to another or slightly touches another, it’s “sexual harassment “. Prayer has been removed from schools (almost 100%), God and Jesus too. History is rarely taught accordingly, yet, children are still allowed to participate in Valentine's Day card and candy exchanges. I doubt any facts or any information is given to them about this "holiday" either.

I could go on and on and sound like such a “Negative Nancy”, point being, if you need a specific day/ date to celebrate “Love”, you aren’t really clear what love is or how to celebrate it.

If you celebrate love every day, February 14th will not be stressful. Make your partner feel special every day. Don’t be part of the proposal and wedding day cliques. It’s been done, a million times one hundred and one (many more I’m sure). If you are single, celebrate "YOU". Be happy. Happy Everyday to you

 

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https://www.history.com/news/6-surprising-facts-about-st-valentine

https://www.npr.org/2011/02/14/133693152/the-dark-origins-of-valentines-day

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentine%27s_Day

Why do you celebrate Valentine's day?

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2 comments

  1. I feel like I always overlook at the history behind certain days. Thanks for sharing the reminder of the origin behind Valentine’s Day! It is interesting how we typically celebrate an event that has tragic in its origin. I never understood V-day as a kid,.. Though I am still trying to figure it out as an adult, aha.

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

    1. Thank you Nancy! I agree. We celebrate so many days that we truly know nothing about. Why not take the time to just celebrate everyday and what we do know. I am learning behind each “holiday”, there are so many origins, twists, turns, recreations, and then “poof”, we just celebrate them, unknowingly most are ridiculous. I will continue to write about the history behind the holidays and different places. It interests me so much. New Years was a real shocker too.
      Thank you so much for reading and for commenting

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