What’s it to you?

This is the first day of the Love Blog Challenge
hosted by the lovely BelleBrita
Prompt for 2/3: Valentine’s Day

There’s not a lot to say about Valentine’s Day that hasn’t already been said. For some it’s a memory above all others – perhaps the proposal or wedding, first love, first kiss – or last one. Some celebrate a February 14th birthday while some mourn heartbreak or loss.

For others, what should we have for dinner? becomes more fancy or challenging or a steak at the best place in town.

For Tim and me, it’s quiet and low-key. He usually finds something to surprise me – big or small, it doesn’t matter. And Dove dots, milk chocolate, please.

This year, I looked into how the whole thing got started. In case you didn’t know, the history of Valentines’ Day is sketchy and not all that romantic…

  • St. Valentine may have been a priest who passed notes between jailed lovers or performed marriage ceremonies, despite the decree of Emperor Claudius II, who believed single men made superior soldiers.
  • Or he might have helped Christians escape Roman prisons.
  • Or could he have been the one who sent the first valentine to the jailor’s daughter who visited him while he was imprisoned?
  • Or did he heal the daughter of Asterius, leading to his conversion – and the execution of the whole lot?
  • Or maybe he’s a mash-up of all these historically probably-inaccurate figures.

Then there is the alleged church’s attempt to cover up for the pagan feast and carnival of Lupercalia, which included sacrifices, drunk and naked Roman men, and matchmaking by drawing names from a jar.

To further complicate matters, about that same time of year the Normans celebrated “Galatin’s Day” which meant lover of women. Really?

Thankfully, Chaucer and Shakespeare paired it up with the springtime bird-mating season, giving the day a bit of sweetness and romance, as illustrated by Shakespeare’s lovestruck Ophelia, who claimed to be Hamlet’s Valentine.

The first Valentine poem, penned by Charles, Duke of Orleans in 1415 while imprisoned in the Tower of London (lots of prisons, huh?) begins with the words I am already sick of love, My very gentle Valentine…

And by sick of love, he meant lovesick.

All of this, plus a hodge-podge of other “facts,” came together to form the all-Hallmark-all-the-time, 1-800-Flowers, Cadbury, Hershey, and conversation hearts hullabaloo we know and cherish today.

Oh good golly, Miss Molly!

But I don’t mind it – not the history or the mystery or its commercial explosion. It’s endearing to see the young and young-at-heart sweeten the day of a new love or forever partner. And those little hands depositing construction paper hearts into each classmate’s Valentine mailbox, covered in scraps of pink and red and doilies? Oh, my GOSH, it’s just too much! It’s all good.

And so, my lovelies, however you celebrate or don’t, I hope this February 14 finds you in love with someone or something that keeps you forever at peace with the world.

History of Valentines Day
The dark origins of Valentines day
The “real” St Valentine was no patron of love

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

14 comments

  1. So much history has been lost to us. I would love to discover the true origins of Valentine’s Day, but perhaps it’s like many traditions, truly just a hodgepodge from different people and cultures that eventually led to today.

    Like

  2. This is all very interesting, maybe the most interesting holiday created yet since it seems to struggle with just one heritage of creation. A sort of Frankenstein of holidays!!

    Liked by 1 person

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