Ahhh…The smell of chocolate is in the air. Nervous tension lingers in the minds of lovers near and far, as they laboriously mull over choosing that one perfect purchase. On Valentine’s Eve, sleeping retailers toss and turn as they anticipate bare shelves, where once droves of heart covered, paraphernalia lay. Some curious Valentines’ Day seekers will delve into the deep historical mysteries that surround this midwinter holiday. Come with me as we enter the world of abbreviated facts and legends dedicated to the, “Celebration of Love”. Indulge, as I toss out a few micro-morsels applicable to V-day.
According to church history, numerous early Christian martyrs were named “Valentine”, and they are honored annually in Rome on, February 14th. These include Valentine of Rome, Valentine of Terni and a third who was mentioned in early manuscripts. (This unfortunate man was killed in Africa.) Only one Valentine wins, “The Most Famous and Influential of all Valentines”. If you guessed Valentine of Rome, you were right! This priest and physician, married young couples in secret thereby violating one of Claudius’s II’s laws. The Roman emperor wanted his soldier’s attention fixed on war, not on their wives. Initially, the ruler enjoyed conversing with Valentine. However after an unsuccessful attempt was made to convert Claudius to Christianity, Valentine was thrown into prison. Before his execution, it is reported he performed a miracle by healing the blind daughter, of Asterius, his jailer. Church records state that St. Valentine did this through prayer and or by applying salve to the girl’s eyes. This miracle, prompted the jailer to convert to Christianity. Legend says that the night before he was to die, the man penned a note to his young patient, signing it, “From your Valentine”. Thus the very first valentine was written. In the morning Valentine was beaten and beheaded. Hypothesized date for his death: February 14, 269 A.D., He was buried the same day at the Via Flaminia, Italy.
The Love Connection – The first link between St. Valentine’s Day and love was credited to Geoffrey Chaucer. The famous writer penned, what is most likely the first Valentine’s Day poem, The Parliament of Fowls in 1383. An excerpt from Chaucer’s poem:
For this was on Saint Valentine’s Day,
When every fowl comes there his mate to take,
Of every species that men know, I say,
And then so huge a crowd did they make,
That earth and sea, and tree, and every lake Was so full,
that there was scarcely space For me to stand, so full was all the place.
Ever wonder how other countries celebrate….
Japanese Change Up – Japanese women feel obliged to give chocolates to all male co-workers, except on a Sunday. Men are expected to return gifts that are at least two or three times more valuable than the gives they received. Here’s the kicker – Returning a gift of equal value as the one received, sends the message that you are ending the relationship.
Underground Purchase – In Saudi Arabia in both years 2002 and 2011, religious police banned the sale of all Valentine’s Day items, for the day is considered a Christian holiday in the country. Shop keepers were warned to remove anything from red from view on this day. Thus a black market was created, causing citizens to retreat to back alleys for their roses and wrapping paper.
Sticker Mania! In Lithuania and Latvia – A friend or family member will, “sticker” a loved one. These little signs of affection are placed on the face and clothing of the one admired.
Three facts for the road…
Number of Valentines sent each year in the U.S. – 1 billion
Oldest known Valentine – One sent by the Duke of Orleans, in 1415 to his wife after he had been taken prisoner by the English.
Expected amount of money spent on chocolate candy Valentine’s Day week -$345 million Dollars
My hope is that you’ve garnished something that interests you from this blip on Valentines’ Day. I’ll wrap things up with a holiday quote “He called me smarty-pants, and I think I’m in love.” – Author known:)
Spiritual Living, Christian Faith CBNhttp://www.cbn.com/sp
2 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day Blip”
Carla, especially love the early church history related to Valentine as I took a fascinating course in college on Early Medieval Christianity. Enjoyed all the Valentine facts here too!
Thank you, Donna! I would have LOVED that class. I’m always interested in learning new things about Christianity and I’m all about Medieval history. Stop by anytime!