Valentine’s Day is popular day and tagged as the most romantic day of the year and celebrated it is 14th February annually. People celebrate this day by sending messages of love and affection to partners, admirers, family and friends. They also take their loved ones for a romantic dinner at a restaurant. Couples send Valentine’s Day cards and flowers and spend special time together to honour and renew their love and affection for each other.
There are so many stories on how Valentine’s Day came about, but let us take it from the Catholic perspective:
The Early History of Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is named after Saint Valentine, a Catholic priest who lived in Rome in the 3rd Century. There are many stories about St Valentine and over time these stories grew into the legend we know today.
At the time of Valentine’s life, many Romans were converting to Christianity, but the Emperor Claudius II was a pagan and created strict laws about what Christians were allowed to do. Claudius believed that Roman soldiers should be completely devoted to Rome and therefore passed a law preventing them from marrying. St Valentine began to marry these soldiers in secret Christian ceremonies and this was the beginning of his reputation for believing in the importance of love.
Eventually Valentine was found out and jailed for his crimes against Claudius. While imprisoned, Valentine cared for his fellow prisoners and also his jailer’s blind daughter. Legend has it that Valentine cured the girl’s blindness and that his final act before being executed was to write her a love message signed ‘from your Valentine’. Valentine was executed on 14 February in the year 270.
How did Valentine’s Day develop?
It wasn’t until more than 200 years later that 14 February was proclaimed St Valentine’s Day. By this time Rome had become Christian and the Catholic Church was determined to stamp out any remaining paganism. A pagan fertility ritual was held in February each year and the Pope abolished this festival and proclaimed 14 February Saint Valentine’s Day, thus establishing this feast day on the Catholic Calendar of Saints.
The poet Chaucer in the Middle Ages was the first to link St Valentine with romantic love. This was the beginning of the tradition of courtly love, a ritual of expressing love and admiration, usually in secret. This custom spread throughout Europe and stories grew about a High Court of Love where female judges would rule on issues related to love on 14 February each year. Historians believe that these meetings were in fact gatherings where people read love poetry and played games of flirtation.
Adapted From: Roses Only
Valentine’s Day Symbols
Different symbols like ; colors red and pink, roses, images and statues of cupids, cupids’ bows and arrows are used to express the feeling of romance and love on Valentine’s Day. While some send special hand-made cards beautifully designed to express their deep feelings and how much they loved the recipient. Cards would usually contain sentimental verse, proclaiming the beauty of the receiver and how much they were loved.
In mythology, he uses his arrow to strike the hearts of people. People who fall in love are sometimes said to be “struck by Cupid’s arrow”. The day focuses on love, romance, appreciation and friendship.
Saint Valentine’s Day cards were decorated with pictures of cupid, hearts and flowers and trimmed with lace and ribbon. These images are still used today to symbolize love and are recognized all over the world.
How Valentine’s Day is celebrated in recent Times:
Valentine’s Day is celebrated in most countries differently; different cultures also have developed their own traditions for this festival. some parts of the world Valentine’s Day is observed as a day for expressing love between family members and friends, rather than that of romantic couples Some traditions include leaving lollies and gifts for children and others include acts of appreciation between friends.
Valentine’s Day is mainly associated with romantic love with lots of cards and gifts exchanged. Rose flowers are usually sent [more especially, single rose]. Romantic messages are exchanged and special outings are made by couples going for either a dinner, a picnic or they relax at home to have special home-cooked meal, where they spend quality time together. Some of them renew their marital vows on that day. There are couples who decide is to indulge in a luxury hotel, in a beautiful location, just to get away from hassle and enjoy themselves. Some people chose that day for surprise marriage proposals and is always romantic and memorable.
Tomorrow is another 14th February, make it memorable, by spoiling your loved ones either at work or home with flowers, a gourmet or gift hamper. Remember it is not a s*x day or a day to drink to stupor, rather a Valentine’s Day is a day for showing appreciation for the people you love.