St Valentine's Day Thursday 14th February 2013
St Valentine's Day Thursday 14th February 2013
In 2013 Valentine's Day is on a Thursday.
St Valentine's day history goes back to Roman times. The emperor Claudius II was a student of human nature and way back in AD 287 he calculated that single men made braver soldiers than married men. Therefore, as Claudius had absolute power, he dictated than no soldier should marry. A Roman called Valentinus thought that this was rough justice and secretly married soldiers who had a sweetheart.
When Claudius discovered that Valentinus had defied his decree he threw Valentinus into jail. Whilst incarcerated, Valentinus fell in love with the gaoler's daughter and sent her the first ever card - from your sweet Valentine.
Much later, in AD 496 Pope Gelasius, chose 14 February as the day to honour and remember Saint Valentine. Unfortunately, tantalisingly little is known about these early origins of St Valentine.
In the history of St Valentine's day, it is the 17th century which was the most important and truly romantic era. The 14th of February became important as a day to exchange love notes by sending poems and gifts. Sometimes dances and small festivals were held.
In modern times, 1416, Charles, Duke of Orleans, sent one of the earliest Valentines, from his imprisonment in the Tower of London after the Battle of Agincourt. He sent several Valentine poems to his wife in France.
St Valentine 'Not the saint of love'
Britain's Roman Catholic Church is advising lovelorn singles to direct their 14 February requests for love to St Raphael, rather than St Valentine. Over the years St Valentine has come incorrectly to be associated with finding love, the Church says. He is the patron saint for those who have already found their soul mate. St Raphael is the patron saint for happy encounters and it is to him those fearing the Valentine's post should properly direct their prayers.
A lasting Legacy of 500-year-old Love
Love it or hate it, even the most hardened anti-Romeo will be hard pressed to avoid Valentine's Day this year.
Here is a letter which is on show at the British Library. It is a letter, written from a young woman to her love, and is the first mention of the word Valentine in the English language.
The letter shows they were no different to us, write Will and Guy. They had the same loves, desires and financial problems.
In 1477 Margery wrote a letter to her John pleading with him not to give her up, despite her parents' refusal to increase her dowry.
Addressing her 'ryght welebeloued Voluntyne' (right well-beloved Valentine), she promised to be a good wife, adding, 'Yf that ye loffe me as Itryste verely that ye do ye will not leffe me" ' (If you love me, I trust.. you will not leave me).
While romantics 534 years later might celebrate Valentine's Day with fine dining, chocolates and flowers, Margery is left pleading with her love not to leave her while pledging her heart over all 'earthly things'.
She promises her undying love, 'Myne herte me bydds ever more to love yowe truly' (My heart me bids ever more to love you truly), and speaks of her ailing body and heart over her fiance's continuing silence.
However, modern-day lovers be reassured, like any self-respecting fairytale romance the heart did rule the head and, despite her father's stubbornness over her dowry, Margery did marry her knight and the couple had a son, William, in 1479. Margery died in 1495, John in 1503.
While her letter is also written on paper, there is one key difference. She didn't write it herself we have learned. It would have been dictated to a man who would have written it for her. However, says Julian Harrison, curator, 'The fact that she isn't writing the letter doesn't mean she can't write, it means she can afford someone to write for her. People have assumed that people in the past were illiterate, but actually levels of literacy may have been higher than we think.'
A marvellous tale with which to celebrate Valentine's Day.
In Guy's home country of Wales wooden love spoons are made and given as presents on 14 February. Hearts, keys and keyholes feature as decorations on these carved spoons as and invitation to 'unlock my heart'.
Valentines day history in Medieval times saw the youth of the time wearing names drawn from a hat on their sleeves. Hence the modern expression 'to wear your heart on your sleeve' . This means that other people can easily see what you are feeling.
If a young lady sees a sparrow on February 14th flying overhead it means that she will marry a poor man and be extremely happy. If she saw a robin she would marry a mariner. A goldfinch seen by a woman meant that she would marry into riches.
St Valentine's commercialisation probably began with the making and selling of cards in the 18th century. Women in the 18th century would write men's names on paper, roll them in clay and place them in a bowl of water. The first paper to rise to the surface would contain the name of a woman's true love.
Never have children, only grandchildren.
Rosette Nebula - Especially for Valentines
Valentine Food - Raspberry Tart
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See more dates for 2013. Also check the day of the week for these festivals: