The notorious Valentine’s Day, a day when we are reminded that we are very loved by a significant other, or very not. Either way, the 14th of February is celebrated worldwide, by exchanging gifts and professing our love for another. So, why do we romantically symbolize this one-day of the year and where did it all begin?
The Legend, The Origin, The Romance
Legend has it… That Saint Valentine was martyred. A Christian priest that defied Emperor Claudius II when he declared that single men made better soldiers than those that had families or spouses. And what happens when you defy an Emperor? You got it! He was sentenced to death.
Another tragic, yet more apt legend is that an imprisoned Valentine sent himself the very first ‘valentine’ after he fell madly in love with his jailor’s daughter. It is alleged that before his death he wrote a letter, signed: From Your Valentine, An expression that is still used to this very day.
Although Legend is as mysterious as always, there is some origin behind why we celebrate Valentine’s Day and as a day of romance (not death).
During the Middle Ages in France and England, it was ordinarily known that the 14th of February marked the beginning of mating season for Birds, thus giving birth to the middle of February as a day of romance, no pun intended.
So where did the idea of presenting gifts on Valentine’s Day come from? Well, they started as greetings as far back as the middle ages. However, the first written Valentine appeared in the 1400’s, a sweet poem by a love-stricken Duke, who may I add, was also in jail (I can see pattern here!).
By the 1800’s Valentines Day was contagious around the world, it became the norm to exchange notes and gifts and the 1900’s welcomed the Americanised version of Valentine’s Day and the introduction of printed cards, with 85% of these being purchased by women… Who said romance is dead?
Today we celebrate Valentine’s Day with a cute teddy, a bunch of roses and a humorous card about our sex life, when really Valentine’s Day aligns more with tragedy and romance, reminiscent of a Shakespeare story. This year, why not try tradition and send a letter to someone you really admire.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
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