The 14th February is Valentines Day when we celebrate our love for someone. Here are six things that you might not know about Valentine’s Day and St Valentine.
It started with the Romans
Valentines Day goes back to the Roman Empire and Emperor Claudius II. He wanted more soldiers for the Roman army, but lots of men refused to leave their wives and families. So the Emperor decided that the solution was to ban all marriages.
However, a very popular priest in Rome thought that this was unfair and started to marry couples in secret. Eventually, Claudius II found out about these secret marriages and was furious. He ordered that Valentine should be thrown into jail, where he eventually died on February 14th. His friends hadn’t forgotten him and they made sure that he was buried in a churchyard in Rome.
Geoffrey Chaucer’s Poem For Valentines Day
The Parliament of Fowls was probably written sometime in the late-1370′s to the late 1380′s. This contains the earliest known reference to “Saint Valentine’s Day” as an occasion for romance.
[…] ther sat a quene
That, as of light the somer-sonne shene
Passeth the sterre, right so over mesure
She fairer was than any creature.And in a launde, upon an hille of floures,
Was set this noble goddesse Nature;
Of braunches were hir halles and hir boures,
Y-wrought after hir craft and hir mesure;
Ne ther nas foul that cometh of engendrure,
That they ne were prest in hir presence,
To take hir doom and yeve hir audience.
For this was on seynt Valentynes day,
Whan every foul cometh ther to chese his make,
This translates into modern English as:
There sat a queen who was more lovely by far than any other creature, just as the summer sun outshines the stars. This noble goddess Nature sat enthroned in a pavilion she had wrought of branches upon a flowered hill atop a meadow. And there was not any bird born of love that was not ready in her presence to hear her and receive her judgment. For this was Saint Valentine’s Day, when all the birds of every kind that men can imagine come to choose their mates.
However, it is fairly certain that the church celebrated the Feast of St. Valentine before Chaucer wrote this.
France Gave Us Valentines Day Cards
The origin of Valentine’s day cards lie in letters and poems. The tradition of sending poems to a love on Valentine’s day was started by a French nobleman, Charles Duke Of Orleans around 1415, who was taken prisoner during the Battle Of Agincourt. He sent love poems to his wife back in France each year.
The 14th February became associated with love in the Middle Ages, especially through the writer Geoffrey Chaucer.
It took almost 200 more years for commercial Valentine cards to make an appearance in 1800. These also started with just poems, but it wasn’t long before artwork was added to give more romance.
How Did Our Blood Pump Become The Icon For Valentines Day and Love?
It may well all be the fault of a North African plant. As far back as the seventh century B.C., there was a profitable trade in a plant called Silphium. Among other uses, Silphium was reputed to provide a form of birth control. The Silphium plant was so important that Cyreneian coins depicted the plant’s seed pod, which looks like the heart shape we know today.
It is said that the heart shape of this seed pod first became associated with sex, and eventually, with love.
By the 17th Century, Saint Margaret Mary Alocoque had a vision of it surrounded by thorns. This symbol became known as the Sacred Heart of Jesus and was associated with love and devotion.
Before the medical profession disavowed the world, it was generally believed that the heart was the seat of all human emotions and feelings. So the gift of a heart represented the giving of everything to someone you love. This ancient belief has lingered on through the ages.
In the words of Sam Cooke,
Cupid, draw back your bow
And let your arrow flow
Straight to my lovers heart
Cupid’s arrows come in two varieties:
- The Golden Arrow, which generally signifies true love
- The Leaden Arrow, which represents wanton and sensual passion.
He is sometimes portrayed with a torch with which to inflame desire between men and women.He is often described a mischievous because his interference doesn’t always have happy consequences.
Cherubs are also believed to be descendants of Cupid. Depicted as loveable little winged creatures, but without the use of arrows.
Love Is Only Chemicals
Biologically, love is a powerful neurological condition like hunger or thirst, only more permanent. We talk about love being blind or unconditional, in the sense that we have no control over it. But then, that is not so surprising since love is basically chemistry. While lust is a temporary passionate sexual desire involving the increased release of chemicals such as testosterone and oestrogen, in true love, or attachment and bonding, the brain can release a whole set of chemicals: pheromones, dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin and vasopressin. However, from an evolutionary perspective, love can be viewed as a survival tool – a mechanism we have evolved to promote long-term relationships, mutual defence and parental support of children and to promote feelings of safety and security.
Written by Jim Al-Khalili – a theoretical physicist and science writer
Quoted From: The Guardian
Valentines Day Gifts
In addition to the giving of cards, Valentine’s Day gifts represent the Heart and Cupid symbols. In particular, jewellery is a deeply personal gift for the one you love.
LoveTaliesin Jewellery has a wide range of hearts and other love tokens. These are all hand-made by Sue using a variety of Swarovski Elements, Tibetan Silver Charms and nickel-free components.
You can see the whole of our “Heart” collection, including earrings, pendants and sets, in our online shop.All of these come with FREE Postage and Packaging.