With Valentine’s Day fast approaching we decided it was time for another staff celebration.
We connected with family, friends, associates, and all-around great people. It has been a continuously busy year here already so it’s nice to take a breath and enjoy some time together.
Many people celebrate Valentine’s Day by enjoying the company of a loved one or treating yourself to something nice, but the origins of Valentine’s Day and how it was originally celebrated are often overlooked. There have been many theories of the true origin of Valentines. To this day there is no one Saint or event that can be truly linked to the creation of the day, rather many people, religions, and time that has all effected the day we know and celebrate today.
There have been at least three recognized Saint Valentines (Valentinus) by the Roman Catholic Church. Most well known is the Priest Saint Valentine who continued performing marriage ceremonies in secret after marriage was forbidden for young men in third century Rome. Another theory suggests that Valentine’s Day was named after a different Saint who was imprisoned and later killed for helping Christians escape Roman prisons. One story suggests that this Saint wrote the first ever valentine to a girl he fell in love with while in prison. He signed a love letter to her – “From your Valentine”. At the end of the fifth century the Pope declared February 14th was to be called Valentine’s Day in an effort to block the pagan holiday of Lupercalia happening around the same days. After February 14th became officially named Valentine’s Day it took some time to be associated with romance like it is today.
In 1375, poet Geoffrey Chaucer wrote – “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh there to choose his mate.” This was the first found record associating Valentine’s Day with love.
In 1415, a poem was written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his Wife:
“I am already sick of love,
My very gentle Valentine,
Since for me you were born too soon,
And I for you was born too late.
God forgives he who has estranged
Me from you for the whole year.
I am already, etc.
My very gentle, etc.
Well might I have suspected,
Having such a destiny,
Thus would have happened this day,
How much that Love would have commanded.
I am already, etc.”
In modern days we still have love poems and heartfelt notes, but many people more commonly think of the symbols we associate with the day – cupid, heart shaped cards, ribbons, etc. These came with the growing popularity of the holiday around the United Kingdom and Australia in the 17th century. By mid 18th century – the 1900’s exchanging gifts and printed cards was common worldwide. It was around this time that images of cherubs and cupid surged in popularity due to their historical mythology of creating love and desire. Today, approximately 145 Valentine’s cards are sent out every year.
Whether you celebrate with a significant other, friends, or with yourself, there is no denying the rich history and importance Valentine’s Day has held all over the world.
Written by: Hannah Reynn