Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Valentine’s Day

I was sitting here wondering what to write next on this blog. Valentine’s Day continue to pop into my head. Possibly because all this week on 7th Heaven show, they are showing reruns of their valentine shows. Possibly because Valentine’s Day is on Saturday and I do not have a date (although I have to work). Possibly I do not have a loved one who I can celebrate this day with because I am single. Then I think of those who have lost loved one this past year and how difficult it must be for them as well.

As in some of the episodes of 7th Heaven, I found myself wondering who I can call so I won’t be alone. Now I realized that I was starting to have a pity party and stopped myself.

My mind shifted to, how did Valentine’s Day started? Was it by greeting card companies as many would say? What is the history behind this? That is when I look this up on Wikipedia. This is what I found.

Valentine's Day or Saint Valentine's Day is a holiday celebrated on February 14 by many people throughout the world. In the West, it is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other by sending Valentine's cards, presenting flowers, or offering confectionery. The holiday is named after two among the numerous Early Christian martyrs named Valentine. The day became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

The day is most closely associated with the mutual exchange of love notes in the form of "valentines." Modern Valentine symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten notes have largely given way to mass-produced greeting cards.[1] The sending of Valentines was a fashion in nineteenth-century Great Britain, and, in 1847, Esther Howland developed a successful business in her Worcester, Massachusetts home with hand-made Valentine cards based on British models. The popularity of Valentine cards in 19th-century America was a harbinger of the future commercialization of holidays in the United States.

I also looked at Valentine and here’s what I found under the same reference.

Saint Valentine (in Latin, Valentinus) is the name of several martyred saints of ancient Rome. The name "Valentine", derived from valens (worthy), was popular in late antiquity.[2] Of the Saint Valentine whose feast is on February 14, nothing is known except his name and that he was buried at the Via Flaminia north of Rome on February 14. It is even uncertain whether the feast of that day celebrates only one saint or more saints of the same name.

The first representation of Saint Valentine appeared in the Nuremberg Chronicle, (1493); alongside the woodcut portrait of Valentine the text states that he was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius II, known as Claudius Gothicus. He was arrested and imprisoned upon being caught marrying Christian couples and otherwise aiding Christians who were at the time being persecuted by Claudius in Rome. Helping Christians at this time was considered a crime. Claudius took a liking to this prisoner -- until Valentinus tried to convert the Emperor -- whereupon this priest was condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs and stoned; when that didn't finish him, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate. Various dates are given for the martyrdom or martyrdoms: 269, 270, or 273.

It amazes me at times how much we take for granted is rooted back to Christian history. But why should it? After all, our country was founded and developed under Christian roots. But for the same reason as many who sees the true color of a woman’s hair when the roots show, they want to cover it up as soon as possible. Are we ashamed of our history?

As for all of you, I wished you a Happy Valentine’s Day. May you treat your loved ones as special on Valentine’s Day every day of the year.

1 comment:

  1. Great information Rena! There is much more to valentines day than what we have always thought or been told. It isn't just for lovers, it is for friends and relatives to express their love and appreciation to each other as well which shouldn't be limited to just one day, but should be expessed all throughout the year.

    What you share here offers a much different and broader perspective and all based on historical fact. Thanks for taking the time to do the research, it is very interesting and helps us view Valentine's Day from a vastly different perspective.