Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone! I hope that you are sharing the love with family, friends, and even Fido! Over here in the Chen house, we are excited about the day of love, but wanted to know just how this epic holiday of giving flowers and chocolate got started!
There are lots of stories that circulate about the start of v-day, including a popular hagiographical account of Saint Valentine of Rome. Supposedly he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. What a rebel! The legend goes that Saint Valentine healed the daughter of his jailer right before he was executed. On his farewell letter he wrote the daughter and signed it, “Your Valentine”.
Then, thanks to Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century, the first Valentines Day was celebrated with the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th-century England, it turned into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards.
In Europe, Saint Valentine’s Keys are given to lovers “as a romantic symbol and an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart,” (hello Tiffany keys!) Valentine’s Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Once the 19th century came about, the sentiment of the hand written greeting card went by the wayside and mass-produced ones took their place. We still vote for the hand written notes of love!
Happy Valentines Day!