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Valentine's Day through time (by Private)

As many of you probably know, the 14th of February is Valentine's Day. The day is usually filled with heart-shaped everything in stores, chocolate, flowers and maybe even a few Valentine's cards. In modern times, the day is associated with romantic love, and couples often spend the day together while some singles wallows in sadness over not having found their better half yet. But The day hasn't always been like that.

No-one really knows how what is today known as Valentine's day started. Modern-day Valentine celebrations bear traces of both Christian and ancient Roman traditions. The Romans celebrated a spring festival called Lupercalia (a celebration of the fertility god Lupercus) on the 15th of February, a festival that has been traced back to the 6th century BC. This festival was a fertility festival during which there were animal sacrifices, priests slapping women with strips of goat hide (a fertility 'blessing'), nakedness and random matchmaking (and I mean random, men drew women's names from a jar!).

 

This Roman fertility fest is very different from what we know as Valentine's Day, so how did it evolve from being about a Roman fertility god to a Christian Saint? And who was Saint Valentine even?

No-one is completely sure who Saint Valentine was, though people do agree that he existed. The most common story is that a Christian man, in some stories a bishop, in others a temple priest, named Valentine was executed on the 14th of February by a Roman emperor. He had been imprisoned for secretly marrying Christian couples at a time where Christianity was forbidden. Another legend about Saint Valentine is that while he was imprisoned, he tutored the daughter of his jailer. She was blind, but after praying together with him, her sight was restored. On the night Valentine was executed, he is supposed to have written a note to Julia and signed it, “From your Valentine.”

 

Due to him being killed for marrying people, he became known as a patron saint for lovers. In the late 5th century AD, the current Pope stopped the Roman Lupercalia festival, and instead declared February 14th as a day to celebrate the martyrdom of Saint Valentine. However, back then Saint Valentine's Day most likely wasn't associated with love as it is now. Most beliefs are that the reason Valentine's Day was placed as it was, was in an attempt to Christianize the Lupercalia celebration. Even today, some Christian scholars are against celebrating Valentine's Day as it is thought to be based on pagan rituals!

Despite Saint Valentine's relations to love, it wasn't until the Middle ages valentine's Day became associated to love. At that time, it was believed that February 14th was the beginning of birds' mating season, which only added to the idea of it being a day for romance. The first written connection between Valentine's Day and love appears in the poem "Parliament and Foules", written by the English poet Geoffrey Chaucer in 1375. The associations of courtly love and Valentine's day didn't exist until his poem had become very well-known, so there is a good chance he invented the Valentine's Day we know today!

 

The tradition of Valentine cards is an old one, and the oldest card that still exists today is a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans, in 1415 to his wife. Valentine's Day grew in popularity, and by the middle of the 18th century, it was common for both friends and lovers to exchange small presents or handwritten notes.

In the Victorian Era, a tradition of sending "vinegar valentines", also known as "penny dreadfuls", to unwanted suitors arose. They were the opposite of normal Valentine letters because instead of declaring love they comically insulted and rejected unwanted admirers. However, they were later used to target suffragettes.

Already in the 19th century, a mass production of Valentine's Day cards like we know them today began. In modern times,  at least 180 million Valentine's Day cards are sent every year. This means Valentine's Day is the second largest card-sending holiday, right after Christmas.

Giving flowers or chocolate is also widely popular; according to sources, there are produced about a billion roses for Valentine's day, just like the production and sale of chocolate drastically increases during the Valentine's Day week. Men are the biggest buyers of flowers whereas women prefer to give cards. In fact, it seems 73% of all flowers are purchased by men, and 85% of all cards by women! However, buying roses for Valentine's day may be a sweet gesture, it really isn't good for the environment. Roses need a lot of heat to grow, something that isn't very much in Europe and the US in the middle of February. Instead, the roses are grown in Africa and then flown by plane to the stores as they need to be as fresh as possible for people to want to buy them. And as there are produced about a billion roses for Valentine's Day each year that all have to be flown to Europe or America, it is really bad in relation to CO2 emission and the environment. So that is definitely something to bear in mind next time you are looking for a Valentine's present. 

 Not all countries celebrate Valentine's Day on the same day. Chinese Valentine's day, for example, is usually in August, as it falls on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month!

 Remember how no-one was completely sure who Saint Valentine had been? To add to the confusion, there are about a dozen 'Saint Valentines' - and a Pope! That's why the Valentine Day Saint Valentine is known as Saint Valentine of Rome.

 Besides being a patron saint for love, Saint Valentine is also a patron for beekeeping and epilepsy, among other things. 




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Fiskarna wrote on 23-02 17:55:
Fiskarna wrote:
Saint Valentine supportin the bees
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Godis wrote on 23-02 17:38:
Godis wrote:
Very interesting article and very nice layout! @Cimorene  @Era 
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Escobar wrote on 17-02 16:43:
Escobar wrote:
Really well-written!
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Private wrote on 17-02 06:32:
Rochellette wrote:
(l)
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Private wrote on 14-02 15:21:
Aimz wrote:
Era wrote:
Aimz wrote:
omg, a learned something new today!

I really enjoyed reading this @Cimorene ! 
Great layout Era!
Thank you! 

Also I really enjoyed reading Cimorene's article while I was arranging it in the layout! She did a great job!!  
I feel the same every time I work on a layout for her for BT haha c;
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Private wrote on 14-02 15:20:
Aimz wrote:
Cimorene wrote:
Aimz wrote:
ignore my typos ;c

*I learned something 
I always do lol @Aimz 
bless ♥ 
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Krystle wrote on 14-02 15:18:
Krystle wrote:
Interesting article, I really enjoyed reading it and nice layout. Great job you guys! ^^
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Private wrote on 14-02 14:48:
Era wrote:
Aimz wrote:
omg, a learned something new today!

I really enjoyed reading this @Cimorene ! 
Great layout Era!
Thank you! 

Also I really enjoyed reading Cimorene's article while I was arranging it in the layout! She did a great job!! (l) 
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Platin wrote on 14-02 14:38:
Platin wrote:
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Cimorene wrote on 14-02 14:28:
Cimorene wrote:
Aimz wrote:
ignore my typos ;c

*I learned something 
I always do lol @Aimz 
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Cimorene wrote on 14-02 14:28:
Cimorene wrote:
Aimz wrote:
omg, a learned something new today!

I really enjoyed reading this @Cimorene ! 
Great layout Era!
Happy to be of assistance :*
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Private wrote on 14-02 14:26:
Aimz wrote:
ignore my typos ;c

*I learned something 
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Private wrote on 14-02 14:26:
Aimz wrote:
omg, a learned something new today!

I really enjoyed reading this @Cimorene ! 
Great layout Era!



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