BY: Lena M.
My Dear Valentine
If the sun refuse to shine
If romance run out of rhyme
You would still have my heart
Till the end of time…
The history of Valentine’s Day and the story of St. Valentine is full of mystery. We know that the month of February has been renowned as month of romance for a long time, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, has both Christian and ancient Roman origin. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient tradition?
The Catholic Church recognizes three saints named Valentine whom were martyred. One legend said that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, so he made marriage illegal for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Everyone, at a certain point in their lives, has asked themselves what love is. We’ve all said: “I love you”. But there are so many types of love. Love for our family, love for our children, love for our spouse, brother, sister, love of nature, love for animals. Even the love for God is special. Though at first glance this love is different, it is just a variation of physical coupled with faith, and it manifests itself as this multifaceted love that is characterized by sincere and warm feelings.
In England, the story is based on the legends of the 7th Century. During the Middle Ages, there was a custom between lovers, also known as the ‘valentine’s couples’, who gave each other gifts. In 1383, when King Richard II staged a celebration for Valentine’s day, the poet Geoffrey Chaucer wrote the poem ‘Parlament of Foules’ which represented the idea of Valentine day at that time. The poem described how in this day, birds congregate around the goddess of nature on the bird’s wedding day to select partners.
In the Middle Ages in England, there was a certain way in which people chose their potential valentine. Young men gathered, and then wrote the names of their desired Valentine on a piece of paper, and then selected random paper. Special romantic procedures then followed, such as making verses, singing romantic songs under a window, playing a lute, and pampering their valentine with all things that can be bought or made. These traditions allowed men to look forward to their romantic future, and hope that these action would persuade their valentine into a relationship.
In America, romance much more assertive. Americans would send their loved ones marzipans brides. The symbol of bride highlights the fact that Americans plan on committing to their girlfriends. And it’s not corny, because in those holiday sugars were expensive. But caramels with carved names of sweethearts eventually replaced marzipans. However, candy and chocolates took their place, which were sorted into boxes in the shape of a heart. Often decorated in bright red-white colors. These colors were chosen because red was a symbol of the flame and passion of love, and white was the purity and sincerity of care.
In Italy, they send their favorite sweets, for a life full of love is the sweetest relief, and so another name for the Valentine Day was born, Sweet Day. Similarly, in Denmark, one’s love is usually shown through the exchange of sweets. These sweets are often sent hidden in a bouquet of white flowers or in a woven basket.
No matter the tradition, festival, or celebration. No matter their differences in gifts and recognition. All these attempts at wooing all point to one encompassing feeling…….love.