Monday, February 13, 2017

History of #ValentinesDay ~ Happy #Valentines Day!

Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and in the tradition of dedicating my blog to a bit of history about certain holidays and traditions (See New Year'sSaint Nick and Santa ClausFinding Easter's Date, and Saint Patrick for a few others), I decided to look into the facts behind St. Valentine and the reasons we celebrate love and romance on February 14th.  Turns out, there is quite a bit of conflicting information regarding this particular saint and the holiday named for him. Disclaimer: as always, please keep in mind I am a romance author by trade, not a historian!  

The name Valentine comes from the Latin word "valens" which means healthy or strong.  The derivation Valentine was a popular name between the 2nd and 8th centuries AD, which could explain part of the confusion surrounding this saint.


St. Valentine Kneeling in
Supplication by David Teniers III
Public Domain *Attribution below
The Valentine remembered on February 14 was a third century Roman Saint martyred and buried in a cemetery on the Via Flaminia, an ancient Roman Road.  It's possible that early references to Saint Valentine actually referred to several saints with the same name.  Sources including The Catholic Encyclopedia mention three Saint Valentines connected to the February date: a Roman priest and a bishop, both buried along the Via Flaminia, and a saint in a Roman province of Africa. Some information points to the first two Valentines actually being the same person.

The details surrounding the acts and eventual martyrdom of Valentine are also hazy.  Common threads point to an account of Valentine performing a miracle (restoring the sight of a young girl), aiding Christians and encouraging others to embrace Christianity.  While imprisoned, he refused to renounce his faith and was executed.  

Pope Gelasius I established the Feast of Saint Valentine on February 14 in 496, acknowledging that while not many details were known about Valentine, his acts were known to God.

The more modern traditions connecting Saint Valentine's Day to romantic love date to the fourteenth century and are generally attributed to Geoffrey Chaucer, "the Father of English Literature", and his circle of friends.  In the Middle Ages, birds were thought to pair in mid-February, and in his poem "Parliament of Foules" there is mention of February 14th being the day birds as well as humans find a mate.  

Now that St. Valentine's Day is linked to celebrating romance, common themes include cards, flowers, candy, hearts, and of course, a focus on love stories.  Why not download a page-turning romance novel and enjoy the thrill of the characters' journeys as they fall in love?  For steamy romance mixed with spooky suspense, try #1 Kindle Bestseller GULL HARBOR, where a medium encounters both a dangerous ghost and an ex-boyfriend in a sleepy Cape Cod town. SILVER LAKE also involves a haunting mystery as a group of estranged friends reunite to try to solve their friend's disappearance...and two star-crossed lovers fight for a second chance.  In DIVINE FALL, an award-winning Young Adult Paranormal Romance, forbidden first love meets supernatural secrets as the last Nephilim seeks his revenge.


A little teaser from GULL HARBOR...

You can also send an ebook to a friend to enjoy for less than the price of a card!  (Note - Feb. 14th is also International Book Giving Day!)  Just check on the right hand side for "Send as a gift" and fill in the email address.

Happy Valentine's Day and Happy Reading!

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