14th February – St. Valentine’s Day

Don’t you think, like me, that it’s a bit passé that we only celebrate love one day a year and are filled with romantic feelings. Wouldn’t it be better if we celebrated love 365 days a year? All the time and with everyone.

This morning opening the socials which are filled with ‘cozy photos’ some of which I ask myself why some people think that every photo they make they have to have their tongue hanging out, as if they are ‘gagging’ for more. Especially more mature people, it’s pathetic really. If you want to take a photo with your partner, make a nice smiley one! At least!

But that is not the purpose of my blog really, it is more about how many people really know, where the tradition of St. Valentine’s Day came from? So, let’s do a little bit of research:

Well, as we all know the feast of Saint Valentine is celebrated today, 14th February. It originated from an early Christian feast honoring two martyrs named St. Valentine and then became associated in different cultures and religions as being connected with romance, romantic love and such like.

The said martyrs, including a man from Rome who ministered the Christian religion to followers in the 3rd century and was persecuted under the then Roman Empire for doing this. Very romantic, I think not.

But there is more. This Valentine is said to have restored the sight of the blind daughter of his jailer. So why he was persecuted no one really knows, apart from the general persecution of heretics. But numerous legends that followed were then related to the theme of love.  The story says that he wrote a letter to the jailer’s daughter and signed it off as ‘your Valentine’, a sort of farewell note if you like, before he was executed. Another story says that Valentine performed marriage ceremonies for Christian soldiers who had been forbidden to marry. Why I don’t know?

In AD 496 Pope Gelasius 1st ordered that the 14th February was a day of celebration for St. Valentine of Rome who has been put to death in AD 296. The day was then associated in the 14th and 15th century with romantic love. It was in the 18th century in England (of course) when it grew into an occasion when couples expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, confectionery and sending cards which became known of course, as Valentine’s cards. The symbols used today are heart shaped, the handwritten letters have now become commercial greetings cards. Given to lovers to unlock the giver’s heart and to children to ward of epilepsy, which is also known as St. Valentine’s malady.  

It is not a public holiday in any country, but an official feast day in the Anglian and Lutheran Church. Many Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate on June 6th in honor of a Roman presbyter St. Valentine. Not sure if this relates to the early martyr Valentine way back at the beginning of AD.

It seems that in fact many martyrs were given the name Valentine, but there is no research to say why? The remains of the first Valentine (as we shall call him) are actually buried in the Via Flaminia. Relics kept at the Church and Catacombs of St. Valentino in Rome, which made this an important pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages, until the remains were actually transferred to the church of Santa Prassede during the rule of Pope Nicholas IV. The flower crowned skull is exhibited in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome. 

So, the original Valentine certainly moved around a bit after his death!

Nowadays Valentine’s Day has of course become a consumer driven holiday. Enormous amounts are spent worldwide (more than USD 27.4 billion in the USA alone in 2020 and AUD 568 million in Australia !!!) on gifts and gestures to celebrate love. And have become in this way, far removed from the original idea of giving a gift to the person or person’s that you love. As I began, shout-outs on social media seem to have replaced a lot, crass photos declaring love are in my opinion virtually meaningless. Done only for show. The emphasis should be put more on maybe, if you want to give something, to something less expensive. A special meal, watching romantic movie at home, flowers seem to be a good alternative.  A suggestion on internet was to make Red Velvet Cookies for your loved one. So get baking everyone!

But to come back to where I started, why do we only have one day a year when love is the topic? Why not every day? Isn’t it more important to show love to others, in the form of respect, courtesy and such like every single day? Being emphatic, rather than sympathetic. Being understanding instead of getting irritated. 

At this particular moment in time, 14th February 2021, I think I could generalize and say every single person I have encountered this month so far has been someone with a very short fuse. One tiny little thing has to occur, and then they explode about things that are absolutely irrelevant. Is this because we are all in lockdown and restricted so much. Probably.

Why don’t we all think about this and make today and every single day, a day of love. A small gesture is enough like saying ‘Good Morning’, people don’t bother anymore. Smiling at someone, people have stopped doing that and instead of moaning constantly, be grateful for the small things in life. The fact that you can spend time with your loved ones, even under the present difficult circumstances. A Facetime or video call is just as effective as popping in to say ‘hello’.

This is what the entire world needs – love. Remember the famous words of the Beatles song. “Love is all you Need”. Agree? Maybe today is the right moment to remind yourself that the most important thing is just that – LOVE.

Images: Google

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Jill Kramer

Hi! I'm Jill and I'm a passionate author of books, short stories, columns and blogs.

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