Valentine's Day, also called Saint Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is an annual holiday celebrated on February 14. It originated as a Western Christian liturgical feast day honoring one or more early saints named Valentinus, and is recognized as a significant cultural and commercial celebration in many regions around the world, although it is not a public holiday in any country.
While the European folk traditions connected with Saint Valentine and St. Valentine's Day have become marginalized by the modern Anglo-American customs connecting the day with romantic love, there are some remaining associations connecting the saint with the advent of spring.
While the custom of sending cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts originated in the UK, Valentine's Day still remains connected with various regional customs in England. In Norfolk, a character called 'Jack' Valentine knocks on the rear door of houses leaving sweets and presents for children. Although he was leaving treats, many children were scared of this mystical person.
Tomorrow is Saint Valentine's day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes,
And dupp'd the chamber-door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.
The rose is red, the violet's blue,
The honey's sweet, and so are you.
Thou art my love and I am thine;
I drew thee to my Valentine:
The lot was cast and then I drew,
And Fortune said it shou'd be you.
The day first became associated with romantic love within the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). In Europe, Saint Valentine's Keys are given to lovers "as a romantic symbol and an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart", as well as to children, in order to ward off epilepsy (called Saint Valentine's Malady). Valentine's Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.
One would think that such a popular occasion as Valentine’s Day would have a clear history of the word that defines it. Since Valentine is a name, the question is not what it means, but to whom does it refer, and what did Mr. Valentine do to deserve for you to ask your beloved to be his namesake?
As this blog has learned in exploring the meaning behind everyday words, an amazing amount of the context behind names has evaporated over centuries like morning dew. Here’s what we know about what it means when you make someone your Valentine. Valentinus was a relatively common name in the late Roman Empire, meaning “strength.” Words with the same root include “valor” and “valiant.”
Choosing a sweetheart on this day dates to 14th-century English and French court circles. This fashion is credited to Geoffrey Chaucer, celebrated author of The Canterbury Tales and more.
So what are the implications of these saints for “Will you be my Valentine?” That you are willing to risk all for love? We don’t have a definitive answer, and would love to know what you think.
Valentine’s Day is one of the most bittersweet, and (not to mention) entertaining times of the year. Some women start putting on extra coats of mascara, so they can bat their eyelashes 10 times more than usual to reel in their men. While men, especially, make a point to run to open doors for women or offer to carry their books to class. Since chivalry often makes its grand appearance only once a year, what is today’s true meaning behind the question, “Will you be my Valentine?”
A Valentine can be someone you are interested in or romantically involved with, but it is not a promise to be cuffed the next day.
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