2/12/09

A Touch Of Valentine History



The Big V day is almost here! Every year we exchange candy, flowers, cards and gifts all in the name of Love. February has long been a month of romance. But do you know the history behind Valentine's Day? It contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. Who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with the celebration of love?

One legend contends Saint Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men -- his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Claudius discovered Valentine’s actions, He ordered Valentine be put to death. Other stories suggest that Valentine attempted to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, which led to his death.

According to another legend, Saint Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself while in prison. Valentine fell in love with a young girl who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still used today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.

So there you have it, a touch of history and another take on the day we celebrate love and romance! Enjoy the day with those you love. And then, as a romance author, go and write about it...

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

Kaye

12 comments:

Catherine Bybee said...

Thanks for the lesson, Kaye.

Hey... my book is in galleys. Gee, is that how we say that?

Linda Banche said...

Hi Kaye,

Whoever he was, we're grateful to St. Valentine for leaving us with such a wonderful day.

April Vine said...

Very interesting, Kaye. Thanks.

Debs said...

Thanks for telling us all about Saint Valentine.

We need something to cheer us up at this time of year, and hearts and flowers (of course chocolates too) do that so well.

Dianne said...

Nice post, Kaye. It's good to know these historical type things. We can always count on you for info on the middle ages!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Emma Lai said...

Happy Valentine's Day, Kaye!

Helen Hardt said...

Happy Valentine's Day, hon!

Helen

Cari Quinn said...

I really enjoyed this post, Kaye. I didn't know anything about the legend of Valentine's Day. Hope you have a great one! :)

Shelley Munro said...

That's interesting. It's a pity the day has become so commercial.
Have a fun weekend.

Christina Phillips said...

Hope you had a happy Valentine's Day, Kaye!

Rhonda said...

I have to agree with Shelley, too bad its become so commercial...

Kaye Manro said...

I do agree, it would be a lot nicer if Valentine's Day weren't so commercial. And, as Christina says in her interviews-- 'all about the love...'