Monday, February 14, 2011

Who Was This Valentine?

The origins of Valentine’s Day are shrouded in mystery, because the Catholic Encyclopedia mentions three saints with that name, one of whom was a priest, one a bishop, and the other a relative unknown. About the last, we only know he died in Africa. However, it’s generally believed the holiday honors the third century priest. Oddly, all three men are said to have been martyred on February 14th.
     The day associated with love probably sprang from the Pagan festival of Lupercalia, a Roman celebration of growth and fertility. Pope Gelasius renamed the Pagan festival Saint Valentine’s feast day, in honor of the Roman martyred priest.

In medieval France and England, it was believed that most birds mated on February 14th, and by the 18th century, Saint Valentine’s Day had evolved from a religious feast day to a secular one in which cards were made, complete with ribbons and hearts, along with a love poem or verse, and exchanged by lovers. The tradition spread to the colonies, and February 14th is now widely known for a day to celebrate romance. So while you’re enjoying chocolates and wine, give a toast to Saint Valentine. It never hurts to curry favor with someone who may pull the strings in the romance department.


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Joyce,

You did a great job on research! I love reading about the traditions associated with this special day. This is my favorite holiday. My older son and his wife were married on Valentine's Day and their real life story is very romantic. Yesterday we babysat for their wonderful two year old daughter so they could go out together and celebrate their anniversary. We had a great time with our granddaughter. Our son was also born on Feb. 29th! So this will always be my favorite month of the year.

Jacqueline Seewald
TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS, a sensual historical romance
STACY'S SONG, a sweet young adult romance

Anonymous said...

Who knew? Thanks for sharing your research, Joyce. Great idea for a post!

Terry Odell said...

As a total non-history person, this is fascinating. Thanks for sharing.

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Debby Lee said...

Hi Joyce, what an educational and entertaining post. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing.
Sincerely, Debby Lee

Joyce Elson Moore said...

Jackie: We were married in Feb. also, but the 10th. We were in Hawaii and had to return right after 14th so decided to have our own Valentine's Day early. Gee, you have a lot in Feb. I can see why it's yur fav month. Thanks for stopping by.

Joyce Elson Moore said...

Hi Rebbie: Glad you stopped by. Yes, three of them, so take your pick.

Joyce Elson Moore said...

Hi Terry: I was a little surprised myself, because I always thought there was only one St. Valentine.
Stay warm out there.

Joyce Elson Moore said...

Hi Debby Lee, and thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you liked the post. I love finding out historical tidbits and little known facts. Please come back. We love comments.