Tuesday, February 14, 2006

In Memorium: St. Valentine

Happy St. Valentine's day everyone. It is easy to forget that this day has roots in Christian martyrdom. The word "martyr" is based on a Greek word μαρτυρέω, generally translated as "witnessing" or "giving testimony" to an event for which the speaker has direct knowledge. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, "At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under date of 14 February."
The popular customs associated with Saint Valentine's Day undoubtedly had their origin in a conventional belief generally received in England and France during the Middle Ages, that on 14 February, i.e. half way through the second month of the year, the birds began to pair. Thus in Chaucer's Parliament of Foules we read:

For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne's day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.

For this reason the day was looked upon as specially consecrated to lovers and as a proper occasion for writing love letters and sending lovers' tokens.
Have a wonderful afternoon and evening, everyone.

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