Every year I ponder the meaning of Valentine’s Day and promise myself to do a little research into the history of this modern day holiday with its commercialism. Reading up on the origin I found a few interesting facts:
Numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine. The Valentine honored on February 14th commemorates several men by the same name: Valentine of Romewas a priest who was martyred about AD 269 and was buried on the Via Flaminia. His relics can be found at the Church of Saint Praxed in Rome,as well as at Whitefriar Street Carmelite Churchin Dublin, Ireland.
Valentine of Ternibecame bishop of Interamna (today known as Terni) about AD 197. Records reveal that he was martyred during the persecution under Emperor Aurelius. He is also buried on the Via Flaminia, but in a different location than Valentine of Rome. His relics are housed at the Basilica of Saint Valentine in Terni.
The Catholic Encyclopedia mentions a third saint named Valentine who, according to the records died on February 14. He was martyred in Africa with several companions, but no other details are known.
It is interesting that no romantic elements are present in the original early medieval biographies referring to either of the martyrs. There is no evidence that Saint Valentine was a popular saint before Chaucer’s poems during the 14th century, not even in the area of Winchester, England.
In 1969 the Roman Catholic Calendar underwent a revision, and as a result the feast day of Saint Valentine on February 14 was removed from the General Roman Calendar with the following explanation: “Though the memorial of Saint Valentine is ancient, it is left to particular calendars, since, apart from his name, nothing is known of Saint Valentine except that he was buried on the Via Flaminia on February 14.” The feast day is still celebrated in Balzan, Malta where relics of the saint are claimed to be entombed. February 14 continues to be commemorated in the calendar of the Church of England and other parts of the Anglican communion.
Personally I continue to resist the commercialized aspects of Valentine’s Day. A fact well known in the flower shop trade that Valentines Day is second to Mother’s Day when it comes to long hours and income. If you are not receiving or presenting flowers, the next option might be chocolate! I am sharing with you some images that are free – no purchase necessary and no calories to tempt you. These images of flowers and plants were captured with my camera last summer when visiting the gardens of artist friends.
Enjoy, sit back with your favorite cup of tea or coffee. Play some music that will raise your happiness quotient. Treat yourself and your loved ones with tenderness and care, today and every day! I plan to share my abundance and give a KIVA card to my loved ones!