Why We Celebrate Valentine’s Day
Welcome back to the Stewart Kuper Jewelers blog! It’s February which means we only have a short time before February 14th rolls around when love birds all around the country will be treating each other to something special, pledging themselves, and sharing in that wonderful human experience of love. This time on the blog, we want to look at how the modern Valentine’s Day came to be, from ancient Rome, through Elizabethan England to today!
Valentine’s Day – Ancient Origins
One of the oldest pieces to the Valentine’s Day puzzle is in it’s name, specifically in the part that is so frequently dropped from usage, including in this very blog! It’s not just Valentine’s Day, but St. Valentine’s Day! Who was Saint Valentine?
The name Valentine isn’t a particularly unique one for early Christians. In fact, two martyrs who went on to sainthood are honored on the holiday, Valentine of Terni and Valentine of Rome. Not much is known about Valentine of Terni, other than that he was a bishop and was martyred during the reign of Emperor Aurelian in 273. Much more of our common Valentine’s Day traditions come from Valentine of Rome.
As is the case with early saints and their deeds, there are multiple conflicting accounts of what they did and how they were martyred. Some cases say that Valentine of Rome was a priest who was imprisoned for aiding Christians fleeing persecution. Another tale suggests that Valentine performed weddings for Christians after Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men so they’d make better soldiers. Regardless of the truth of the matter, this legend has stuck with St. Valentine.
Another tale of Valentine of Rome was that he wore an amethyst ring inscribed with a Cupid, a long-accepted symbol of love in the Roman Empire, and Cupid has stuck with the holiday ever since!
The First Valentine Card
The very first Valentine card was said to be written by Valentine himself! Before his execution, Valentine made a card for his jailer’s daughter after healing her blindness. Legend has it the card was signed ‘Your Valentine.’
Romantic Love, For the Record
The earliest records of Valentine’s Day and romantic love are found in the 14th century when Geoffrey Chaucer wrote Parlement of Foulesin in which the poem states that on St. Valentine’s Day every bird finds it’s mate. Though, of note, this St. Valentine’s Day may not have been on February 14th at all! From then to now, a lot of calendar changes have shifted dates around. But ever since, poetry, charters, books, plays, novels, and now movies continue to pass along the tradition of expressing love on February 14th!
The customs may differ by country, and in some places, they even differ on dates, but the connection between love and St. Valentine is strong throughout the globe! It is wonderful to have a holiday that celebrates – Love.
Now that we know why we celebrate, you might be looking for a great gift to celebrate with! Head over to our Anniversary & Gifts page to see examples of what you can get your sweetheart this year. Pick out a card and join the other 190 million cards being shared each year! Having a tough time deciding? Book an appointment with Stewart Kuper and together you can find the perfect piece to show how you feel. Enjoy the holiday and we will see you next time on the blog!