Now I’m not the kinda gal who falls for all the commercial Valentine hullaballoo but I do love a good romantic poem and you’ll find a lot of decent greeting cards these days with something more meaningful to say than Roses are Red…
Or if you’re suitably creative why not make your own card penning your own message of love – that’s what they used to do in the 15th Century when the day became more associated with romantic love that saw lovers exchanging flowers, offering sweets and sending handwritten cards!
Here are a few historical facts about Saint Valentine’s Day that perhaps you didn’t know:
- It is believed that Saint Valentinus (as he was known) was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers in the Roman Empire who were forbidden to marry.
- Another theory was that February the 14th was regarded as the first day of bird’s mating season.
- The first recorded reference to Valentine’s Day with romance is believed to be by Geoffrey Chaucer in Parlement of Foules (1382) where he wrote:
“For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
[“For this was on Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”]
- Valentine’s Day is also mentioned in Hamlet (1600–1601) — William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5 – where Ophelia states:
To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donn’d his clothes,
And dupp’d the chamber-door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.
- The verse “Roses are red” can be traced back to The Faerie Queene (1590) by Edmund Spenser.
- The idea that you should declare your love anonymously came about in the late 1700s early 1800s when printers started producing cards with messages already printed inside. These became popular for those unable to think of romantic thoughts for them selves. These printed cards also saw the introduction of racy verses that titillated, or tormented, the prudish Victorians of the time. Today of course, it has become a multi-billion dollar industry and the introduction of new technologies has spawned e-cards and the like.
One of my favorite Valentine’s Day references is in the wonderful Peter Weir film Picnic at Hanging Rock. All the action and mystery is centred around Appleyard College, a private boarding school for girls, and occurs on Valentine’s Day in 1900. You’ll have to watch it to find out what goes on but let me just say: “Oh Miranda where are you?”
I think whatever you do today to declare your love you can’t go wrong – isn’t it really all about recognition of your feelings, or acknowledging your thoughts and feelings for another and about being kind, thoughtful and loving?