Monday, February 7, 2011

The Seventh Day of St. Valentines

You know how there's the 12 days of Christmas? Well in my opinion, I think every wonderfully over-commercialized holiday should be extended by at least a week. Argo, the 7 Days of St. Valentines. In honour of the celebration of love, both plutonic and romantic, I'm going to do a Valentine's countdown, sharing some lovely love-themed tidbits and trivia. Firstly, having just had to research this myself, where does the whole tradition come from anyway?
The (fascinating!) history of Saint Valentine's day comes from, as so many Christian holidays do, the martyrdom of a Saint. Although there were many St. Valentines, the two honoured on February 14 are Valentine of Rome, a Roman priest, and Valentine of Terni, a bishop during the time of Roman emperor Aurelian, who was also martyred. Why all the romance then? Well, it wasn't in fact until the 14th century that the notion of romance was even associated with St. Valentine. By that time, the original two saints had all but been forgotten. 
In fact, the first association with romantic love and Valentine's Day was brought to us by Chaucer. From there, cultures developed a romantic link with the date of February 14. By the 16th century, the idea of sending paper valentines had come about, and by the 19th had become so popular than entire factories made the love-themed little notes. 
Now, the electronic versions have become the valentine-de-jour. I still enjoy the paper variety, and seeing as there are so many adorable versions to choose from, I think I'll stick to the tradition. 
Hope you've enjoyed this tiny history of St. Valentine's Day! More tomorrow as I continue the countdown of the 7 Days of St. Valentines!