Ah, Valentine’s day, the day where love can be acknowledged, lovers showered with gifts and everyone else….well bars usually do lot of business on Valentine’s. What are the origins of Valentines Day might you ask? Essentially St. Valentine was a martyr, actually there were numerous martyrs named Valentine but that gets a little confusing so we will stick with Valentine of Rome a priest martyred in AD 496 and Valentine of Terni who was martyred AD 197. Ok so there was a third St. Valentine who was martyred in Africa and whose head was preserved in the abbey of New Minster, Winchester.
St. Valentine of Rome is said to have cured his jailers daughter of blindness but they killed him anyway. Just before his execution St. Valentine supposedly sent a card to the now sighted girl signing it “From Your Valentine.” …. And the tradition was born, kind of.
It wasn’t until Chaucer, in the 14th century, that there was any link between St. Valentine’s Day and romantic love. V-Day was also linked to fertility and purification by Lupercalia, a pagan celebration in mid February, still there is dissention as to whether that holiday had anything to do with Valentine’s Day.Although it was pagan and the Christian Church was in the habit of “Christianizing” such rituals for their own purposes.
You could say our modern tradition started with the earliest surviving Valentine, written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife:
Je suis desja d’amour tanné.
—Charles d’Orléans, Rondeau VI, lines 1–2
In 1797 the modern Valentine was born when a book called “The Young Man’s Valentine Writer offered verse suggestions for the verbally challenged. In 1847 Valentines were being mass produced in the United States and the rest is history. It is estimated that 190 million valentines are sent each year and an estimated 15 million e-cards were sent in 2010.
Of course the United States and Great Britain aren’t the only places where Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Latin America there are various names for it; Dia del Amor y la Amistad; Dia Del Carino; Dia dos Namorados.
Romania, Singapore, India, China, Japan, all celebrate a version of Valentines day. I guess Love is universal , it is a shame that we give it only one day of celebration.