So, we have nearly arrived at St. Valentine’s day, where the shops sell cheesy items that you just don’t need and your recipient mostly doesn’t want! The price of a bunch of roses increases at least twofold and restaurants are full of young romantics, looking forward to staring into each others eyes over a bottle of Prosecco!
Do I sound cynical? I’m not really. It’s just hard to do all that when you have an 8 year old with no babysitters available on that special evening. Tuesday 14th February is cubs night anyway and he’s no intention of missing that! The best me and my hubbie can come up with is a M&S meal (no cooking for either and minimal washing up!) after we drop him off then a bottle of fizz after we collect him and bedtime is over. Not very romantic for some but not too bad for us either. I get a break from cooking and we get to enjoy a dinner in peace without being interrupted about Lego!
So, where does St. Valentine’s Day originate from? Is it just an American thing that has now turned commercial and merely a money spinning opportunity?
Apparently, the saint officially recognised by the Roman Catholic Church was a real person who died around AD 270.
The story goes that during the reign of Emperor Claudius II Rome was involved in several bloody campaigns. Claudius found it tough to get soldiers and felt the reason was men did not join army because they did not wish to leave their wives and families.
As a result Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. However, a romantic priest called Saint Valentine defied Claudius’s order and married couples in secret. How splendid!
Unfortunately, when his defiance was discovered, Valentine was brutally beaten and put to death on February 14, about 270 AD. After his death Valentine was named a Saint.
Interestingly, Valentine is also the patron saint of beekeepers and epilepsy among other things. That doesn’t stop people calling on his help for those romantically involved. He’s now also patron of engaged couples and happy marriages.
St. Valentine’s Day became associated with love and romance from as early as the 14th Century. Throughout the years, especially in the 18th century, lovers sent greetings cards, known as “valentines” which were handmade. I suspect these were quite cute, unlike some of the mass produced rubbish we get nowadays. However, in America in 1913 Hallmark Cards began mass producing specific Valentine’s Day cards. Now about a billion cards are sold every year and it’s the second biggest card sending time of the whole year. Looking at images of the old cards, I much prefer them!
We all know the symbols associated with Valentines today: anything heart shaped and a bouquet of red roses feature prominently. The red rose was believed to be the flower favoured by Venus, the Roman Goddess of Love, and has therefore come to represent that .
Why February 14th though? Some believe that Valentine’s Day’s is celebrated mid-February to mark the anniversary of St Valentine’s death. Others maintain that the Christian church decided to place St Valentine’s feast day at this time of the year in an effort to ‘Christianise’ the pagan festival of Lupercalia.
Well, there you go! When you are enjoying your fancy restaurant meal and bottle of sparkling wine, spare a thought for poor Saint Valentine who paid an awful price for believing in enduring romance!
Any of you who are stuck for ideas or inspiration, have a look at my Etsy shop for anything pink, heart shaped and red roses! https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Lizzyshomemade?ref=hdr_shop_menu