Every February 14, across the World, around the Globe candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, For the world has just One Real Global Festival Celebrated by all and sundry in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint, and where did these traditions come from.
The History of VALENTINE’S DAY
The history and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?
Flowers, candy, red hearts and romance. That’s what Valentine’s day is all about, right? Well, maybe not.
The origin of this holiday for the expression of love really isn’t romantic at all — at least not in the traditional sense. Father Frank O’Gara of Whitefriars Street Church in Dublin, Ireland, tells the real story of the man behind the holiday — St. Valentine.
The story of Valentine’s Day begins in the third century with an oppressive Roman emperor and a humble Christian Martyr. The emperor was Claudius II. The Christian was Valentinus.
“He was a Roman Priest at a time when there was an emperor called Claudias who persecuted the church at that particular time,” Father O’Gara explains. ” He also had an edict that prohibited the marriage of young people.
On February 14 is was said that the young boys and girls of the villages would write down the names of every girl and place these names in a jar of which each young man would have to draw a name of a girl and this particular maiden would be their partner for the duration of the festival. Sometimes these parings would last a year and end up in marriages.
These rituals under the laws of Claudius were banned. This was based on the hypothesis that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers because married soldiers might be afraid of what might happen to them or their wives or families if they died.”
“I think we must bear in mind that it was a very permissive society in which Valentine lived,” says Father O’Gara. “Polygamy would have been much more popular than just one woman and one man living together. And yet some of them seemed to be attracted to Christian faith. But obviously the church thought that marriage was very sacred between one man and one woman for their life and that it was to be encouraged. And so it immediately presented the problem to the Christian church of what to do about this.”
“The idea of encouraging them to marry within the Christian church was what Valentine was about. And he secretly married them because of the edict.”
As a result of the order of the Roman Empire all marriages and engagements were canceled. Saint Valentine a Roman priest finding it against the laws of the Christ, Determined to stand against it and was said to have married these couples in secret and for this he was executed on the 14th day of February.Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against command of Emperor Claudius the second. There are legends surrounding Valentine’s actions while in prison.
One of the men who was to judge him in line with the Roman law at the time was a man called Asterius, who’s daughter was blind. He was supposed to have prayed with and healed the young girl with such astonishing effect that Asterius himself became Christian as a result.”
In the year 269 AD, Valentine was sentenced to a three part execution of a beating, stoning, and finally decapitation all because of his stand for Christian marriage. The story goes that the last words he wrote were in a note to Asterius’ daughter. He inspired today’s romantic missives by signing it, “from your Valentine.”
Valentine’s martyrdom has not gone unnoticed by the general public.
St Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14 of each year; the reason why it is celebrated on this day is because this was the day that the Patron Saint of Lovers “St Valentine” was supposedly executed on. also it is said that during the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of the month February 14, Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.
however, that the day became definitively associated with love.On this day lovers all around the world mark this occasion as a day for sending poems, cards, flowers or candy, etc. They might also be a social gathering or ball to mark the occasion.
Valentine has come to be known as the patron saint of lovers. Before you enter into a Christian marriage you want some sense of God in your life — some great need of God in your life. And we know, particularly in the modern world, many people are meeting God through his Son, Jesus Christ.”
“If Valentine were here today, he would say to married couples that there comes a time where you’re going to have to suffer. It’s not going to be easy to maintain your commitment and your vows in marriage. Don’t be surprised if the ‘gushing’ love that you have for someone changes to something less “gushing” but maybe much more mature. And the question is, is that young person ready for that?”
Valentine’s Day Greetings
Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.
In addition to the European continents Valentine’s Day is celebrated in United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and Australia. In later parts of 20th Century it spread to Eastern parts of the world especially Japan, Indian Subcontinents, Hong Kong and today its totally global.
In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings.
Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.) Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.(data by History Channel)
History of St.Valentine
Distinguishing fact from fiction in the case of St Valentine is not easy, as there were at least 3 saints of the name, all of whom died as martyrs.
In fact, Whitefriars Street Church is one of three churches that claim to house the remains of Valentine. Today, many people make the pilgrimage to the church to honor the courage and memory of this Christian saint.
Now there is another a story of how the remains of St. Valentine reached Ireland–
We, Charles, by the divine mercy, Bishop of Sabina of the Holy Roman Church, Cardinal Odescalchi Arch Priest of the Sacred Liberian Basilica, Vicar General of our most Holy Father the Pope and Judge in Ordinary of the Roman Curia and of its Districts, etc, etc. To all and everyone who shall inspect these our present letters, we certify and attest, that for the greater glory of the omnipotent God and veneration of his saints, we have freely given to the Very Reverend Father Spratt, Master of Sacred Theology of the Order of Calced Carmelites of the convent of that Order at Dublin, in Ireland, the blessed body of St Valentine, martyr, which we ourselves by the command of the most Holy Father Pope Gregory XVI on the 27th day of December 1835, have taken out of the cemetery of St Hippolytus in the Tiburtine Way, together with a small vessel tinged with his blood and have deposited them in a wooden case covered with painted paper, well closed, tied with a red silk ribbon and sealed with our seals and we have so delivered and consigned to him, and we have granted unto him power in the Lord, to the end that he may retain to himself, give to others, transmit beyond the city (Rome) and in any church, oratory or chapel, to expose and place the said blessed holy body for the public veneration of the faithful without, however, an Office and Mass, conformably to the decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, promulgated on the 11th day of August 1691. In testimony whereof, these letters, testimonial subscribed with our hand, and sealed with our seal, we have directed to be expedited by the undersigned keeper of sacred relics.
Rome, from our Palace, the 29th day of the month of January 1836. C.Cardinal Vicar Regd. Tom 3. Page 291 Philip Ludovici Pro-Custos
Now for those wishing to visit St Valentine’s Shrine in Dublin, Whitefriar Street Church is located between Aungier Street and Wexford Street, and is just a few minutes’ walk west of St Stephen’s Green. Within the Whitefriar Street Church building there is a shop where one can purchase various souvenirs, such as cards, keyrings and other material bearing Valentine’s image. Unlike most other surviving inner city churches in Dublin, Whitefriar Street always seems to be busy, and as well as the shrine to St Valentine, there are shrines to the Black Madonna and St Albert.
The Whitefriar Street Fathers today emphasise St Valentine’s association ‘with young people and their needs as they grow into maturity and adult life’. To express it more romantically, the Whitefriar Street Shrine to St Valentine has been and continues to be a place of pilgrimage for those celebrating love – as well as for those who have lost it or have yet to find it!
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY
- Valentine’s Day Dinner Menu For Two (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Valentine’s Day in Boston Offers Something for Everyone, All Weekend Long (prweb.com)
- Cupid is a What? (dmarienthee.wordpress.com)
- Romance (katefhenderson.wordpress.com)
Along with thanks and compliments to the sources for the shared data
Whitefriar Street Church and history channel
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