Valentine’s Day: Mystery of History
All around the world, the month of February is known as the month of love, roses, gifts and chocolates. But do we know from where did this tradition come and how it all began? I suppose, most of us don’t know. So it’s the year end and there’s so much to look forward to the next year! Why not end this year learning about some interesting facts about V-day and impressing your valentine with actual facts about the much awaited day?
Saint Valentine is believed to be the core reason for the Celebrations of Valentines’ Day. The history of the benefactor- St. Valentine is shrouded in mystery. St. Valentine's Day, is a combination of both Christian and ancient Roman traditions.
First of all let’s unfold the hidden story of the revered- Saint Valentine, who lost his life on this very day in order to bring love, warmth and prosperity in the world. Though there is a slight confusion everywhere as to which Saint Valentine was this day dedicated to, as two saints with this name share this day of love. Both of these saints were martyred in Rome; they are- Valentine of Terni in around 273AD and Valentine of Rome in around AD 496.
Majorly it is believed that St. Valentine, the priest who used to serve at a church in Rome, around the third century, is the one to whom this day is dedicated. During that period, Emperor Claudius II was ruling Rome and in order to involve every young man in his army, he outlawed marriages. Saint Valentine realised that this is injustice to the diktat and started helping people in secret. Later when Claudius came to know about the deeds of the saint, he sentenced him to death.
It is believed that the very first 'Valentine' greeting was sent by Saint Valentine himself. According to various folklores, Valentine fell in love with his jailor's daughter -- who visited him during his incarceration. It is said that he wrote her a letter which was titled- 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still remarked as ‘From someone who loves you unconditionally’.
Valentine’s Day – the Tradition
Many believe that the origins of the gala surrounding the Valentine’s Day can be traced back to this ancient ‘fertility’ festival. However, while this fanciful story is compelling, it is unlikely to be true. Another milestone attached in the history of Valentine’s Day came in 1382, when Geoffrey Chaucer wrote his poem Parlement of Foules. This poem contains what is widely reported as the very first instance of St. Valentine’s Day being linked to romantic love. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in even England & France. Although, it is said that Terni is the birthplace of St. Valentine, and he is not only the patron saint of love, but also of the town. It is said that he would give flowers picked from his garden to young visitors, with two of them having fallen in love and married, forever associating Saint Valentine with the notion of love.
The Birth of St. Valentine
Visitors to Terni often acknowledge the magical aura which transcends throughout the region and is not just limited to Valentine’s Day. Throughout the month a host of other events also take place, including a jewellery-making competition, art exhibitions and music performances, as well as the awarding of the ‘A Year of Loving’ award, which honours a special act of love or kindness, carried by anyone from the townspeople.
Valentine’s Day however is the core of the celebrations, which are spread over six weeks. This event also coincides with the traditional celebrations of- Cioccolentino, a celebration of all things chocolate, where visitors can take part in all kinds of activities from chocolate tastings to tours.
Memoirs of St. Valentines
This year why not plan a trip and pay your regards and offer prayers to this great saint who lost his life in serving people and dedicated all his acts in bringing love, peace and harmony in the world.
There are a few remarkable places around the world where the remains or the shrines of Saint Valentine still stand firm! Let’s explore these places.
Though St. Valentine was executed in Rome during the emperorship of Claudius II and buried there in the 3rd century, much later, an Irish priest got special permissions to unearth Saint Valentine’s remains, which he safely placed in the Shrine of St Valentine, White Friar Street Church in Dublin. On the feast day, the Reliquary is removed from beneath the side-altar and is placed before the high altar in the church. The feast day of the saint on February 14 is celebrated on a very large scale and many duos join celebrations that day to seek blessings or get their ‘bond rings’ blessed for a happy married life.
The skull of Saint Valentine was found in the excavation of an underground cave in Rome, in the early 1800s; along with skeletal and other remains. The skull can be found in the side altar, on the left of the church of Santa Maria. The skull wears a coronet made from flowers and with an inscription across the skull; the relic is identified as that belonging to St. Valentine, the patron saint of lovers. Isn’t witnessing it utterly fascinating and also to tuck away with the memories of your trip to Rome. A giant feast is held at the Basilica, where the saint’s remains are still kept today. From February 1st, when the celebrations, known as ‘Eventi Valentiniani’, begin with prayers in the Basilica, as well as a re-enactment of the saint’s life in full historical costume. An interesting fact released by the Basilica, as per its records of the official ‘Roman Catholic register of Saints’- currently there have been ten Saint Valentines recorded: There was just one Pope named Valentine and a handful of others with a variation of the name.
Though Valentine’s Day happens to be a day of celebration of love, harmony, togetherness and unity: but unfortunately on this very day in the year 1929, a huge massacre happened where Al Capone’s goons massacred the Moran Gang. Since then the day of joy is named as ‘St. Valentine’s Day of massacre’. It happened in the warehouse at Dickens & Clark in Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois, United States.
Decades after, a Vancouver-based businessman bought bricks from the wall of that infamous garage, where these bullet holes from the massacre are still visible enough. Over the next 42 years, they were featured in a travelling exhibit and displayed in a nightclub restroom. Finally, the bricks are now stored in The Mob Museum and have been fully restored and even framed for visitor to witness.
SYMBOLS OF VALENTINE’S DAY
ØCUPIDS AND ROSES
In Ancient Greece, Cupid was originally the God of Love; Eros. He was depicted as a strong and powerful young man. When Romans created their god, they took the Greek’s version and named him Cupid. Flowers were considered as the symbol of positivity for their medicinal and herbal attributes. It was considered a great gift to exchange flowers that were native to specific areas. Just another item used for barter, because people back then, had no use for ripping flowers out of the ground, just because they were aesthetically pleasing.
Love cannot be confined to one day as there is no perfect day, time, expression, words or frame to express your sense of belongingness and affection for the ones you love the most in the world. So why limit your love and feeling just to a day in the whole year?
Persevere to cherish your love and warmth throughout year and celebrate these special moments of love.
Funnily enough, there have been several attempts since the inception of Valentine’s Day to draw a ‘Valentine-timeline ‘which spreads through all twelve months of a year. Some are quite nice and meaningful, while others may seem romantic but at the same time quite bizarre! Read on:
January 14th: Diary day Valentine’s Day
On this Valentine’s Day, lover will present their diaries to each other.
February 14th: St. Valentine’s Day
The traditional Valentine’s Day, many lovers will exchange flowers or gift their loved ones something special.
March 14th: White Valentine’s Day
The day when men gift something back to the women.
April 14th: Black Valentine’s Day
A day for the spinsters and Bachelors.
May 14th The color Yellow and ‘Rose Valentine’s Day’.
On this day if you wear yellow, and eat yellow rice, that is a subtle way of proclaiming to everyone that you are single. Furthermore, on this day, if you give a red rose to somebody, means you love him or her; if you give a white rose, that means you are considering; however, if you give a yellow rose, that just means you are saying your goodbyes.
June 14th-Kiss Valentine’s Day
Lovers kiss each other as a means to express their love to each other.
July 14th: Silver Valentine’s Day
Take your partner to meet your family, introduce them to your father, mother and your immediate family.
August 14th: Green Valentine’s Day
Go to a forest with your lover in the hot summer season.
September 14th: Music and photo Valentine’s Day
A wonderful day to tend to social affairs and proclaim love socially through music or photos, which are released to the society and acknowledge your relationship.
October 14th: Wine Valentine’s Day
Valentines’ day to drink wine.
November14th: Orange and Movie Valentine’s Day
On that day, lovebirds are supposed to watch two movies back-to-back and then have a refreshing glass of orange juice whilst sitting with each other- so bizarre yet romantic.
December 14th: Internet Valentine’s Day
In memory of internet love.