Everyone will be talking about love as it is thrust upon us from every supermarket, restaurant, florist and card shop. Does anyone actually know who or what St Valentine was? I decided to do some research;
St Valentine was a priest who lived around 260 AD in Rome when marriage had been outlawed by Emperor Claudius (the Cruel). Claudius wanted men to be fighters not lovers. He wanted an army not a bunch of love sick boys.
Valentine in secret continued to marry young lovers and was eventually imprisoned for his actions and later beheaded. The last letter he wrote was to the jailers daughter who had become his friend. He signed it from Your Valentine.
So Valentine was trying to preserve monogamy! Isn’t it strange then that the pagan festival celebrated around February 14th was quite the opposite!
The Feast of Lupercalia started as a celebration of purification, the end of one cycle and the beginning of a new. The elite families of Rome would perform their rituals and sacrifices in the presence of The Emperor. However over the years the meaning of this festival slipped out to the people, not just the privileged few and the connotations of fertility perhaps were taken to extreme. Rumours of women’s names being put into a vessel to be taken out and bid to spend the three day festival (13-15th Feb) with said man.
All of this was of course a very long time ago and could also have been misconstrued over the years. I do like the thought that St Valentine as he passed on from this world had declared his love.
As we give and receive valentines today we all have our own versions of this celebration. Some of us will stand stoically against the ridiculous notion that Hallmark and other fat cats get rich from this yearly money making scam. Whilst most of us enjoy the thrill of giving and receiving. In this fast pace world it is good to remind yourself that love exists in your household, in your life and in your heart.
My book Sharks & Lovers is available to download here: