St. Valentine’s Day: A Short History

Posted February 14, 2016 by Suzanne in Reading on the Dark Side, Under the Covers / 9 Comments

 

Ahhh, Valentine’s Day! A day for lovers (and the greeting card, flower and chocolate industry) the time when you can let the romantic side of you loose on your poor unsuspecting partner. Perhaps subjecting them to a candlelit dinner, the aforementioned flowers and chocolate and if you’re lucky end the evening with an O – and if you’re really lucky, maybe even two Os – all in the name of St Valentine.

But who was he? This defender of romance and harbinger of love, this Saint Valentine? Honestly…no one really knows. There are over a dozen Saint Valentines in the Catholic church; however they seem to have narrowed this mystery man of romance to two men. Both Valentines were around at the same time; one of them secretly wed young Christian lovers, which at the time was against the wishes of Roman Emperor Claudius II, who thought that single men made better soldiers than married ones. Another Valentine is said to have helped Christian prisoner being tortured by the Romans and for his crimes was imprisoned. When in prison, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and supposedly healed her blindness. Unfortunately that didn’t stop his execution by our old friend Emperor Claudius II.

In reality, the Valentine we think of on this day is probably a combination of both these men, and the romantic traditions of this Saint’s day is something that has slowly evolved through time. In my research though the two things that seem to have wrought Valentine’s day in to its present form seem to be:

Lupercalia – This is a Roman Pagan fertility rite that took place between 13-15 February and something that Christianity decided to incorporate to convert some of those troublesome heathens.

Geoffrey Chaucer – Now, until medieval English poet Chaucer, apparently Valentines Day wasn’t all about romantic love; however, his poem Parliament of Foules changed all that. With a few lines he gave birth to a brand new industry (I hope Hallmark are sufficiently grateful!) and gave Valentine’s day a whole new meaning.

But, no matter where Valentine’s Day has sprung from or how it has evolved, it is no doubt the most romantic day of the year and gives you a chance to show your other half a little appreciation. Or if you are single like me, either a) stay in with a tub of ice-cream and watch rom-coms or b) go out in my shortest dress and drink my body weight in alcohol.

But, single or coupled up, have a great Valentines day!

suzanne

 

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Suzanne

Blogger/Reviewer at Under the Covers Book Blog
Gosh, we all seem to be admitting our ages…and I hate that I am at the point in life when admitting my age is a “thing”…whodda thunk it? I was kind of hoping I would remain 21 forever. However, I have moved out of that New Adult stage of my life and am now strictly in the Contemporary Romance age zone of 28. I would prefer to be in an Urban Fantasy arena, but I don’t think I own enough black leather. However, I could probably squeeze into some PNR, I am fully prepared to give a horn job to my favourite demon, or suck on my sexy vamps…fangs and I am definitely up for some heavy petting with some fine looking shifters. Than again their’s always Sci Fi…I am fully prepared to do the right thing and help some poor alien race with more 6 packs than a supermarket repopulate their planet. Not that I am loose woman or anything.

Annnnnd I will stop myself there, before I start waxing lyrical about my love of historical romance and fantasy as well; no one needs to know about my elf fantasies. As you can tell, I adore and day dream about most romance genres, and my three big loves are 1) reading about romance 2) writing about romance and 3) talking about romance with my gals. Which, is why I love Under the Covers so much, I get all my bookish needs satisfied and don’t get judged when I talk about my favourite characters like they are real people. Which they are right?
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Chris Alexander
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Chris Alexander

I always find the history of things like this interesting.

Timitra
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Timitra

Thanks for the history lesson Suzanne!

Elizabeth
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Elizabeth

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!! <3

Sue G.
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Sue G.

Didn’t know any of this. Thanks! Happy Valentine’s Day!

nihcki
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nihcki

Happy anti-Valentine’s Day to my fellow single ladies. Nice tidbit about Valentine’s Day here.

Aly P
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Aly P

Sounds good, both your single options 😀 Happy Valentine’s Day

Glenda
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Glenda

Thanks for the Valentines history lesson!

EC
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EC

How interesting to know the little history of this day. That said: Happy Valentine’s Day, UTC & all!

Amy R
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Amy R

Thanks for the post.