Today is February 14th and many folks will celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day by giving flowers, cards, and candy. Not too mention having intimate dinners, spending time with loved ones, going to parties, and giving other special gifts to friends; but who was the real Valentine and why is this most romantic of holidays named after him?
The legend of Valentine’s Day is said to have originated during the third century in Rome, under the reign of Emperor Claudius II. During his reign, Claudius decided that single men made better soldiers, so he outlawed marriage for young men to keep them focused and away from potential familial distractions. A young priest named Valentine decided the law was unjust and began defying the Emperor’s decree by continuing to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.
First Valentine Card
Claudius eventually discovered Valentine’s actions, had him arrested and soon after sentenced to death. During his time in jail, Valentine fell in love with his jailer’s daughter, who visited him in prison. Before he was put to death, Valentine sent a letter to the girl signed “from Your Valentine”, the basic expression we still use every year during this holiday. Valentine was executed on February 14, 270 AD.
The Saint of Couples
Over 200 years later, around 496 AD, Pope Gelasius established the feast of St. Valentine on Feb. 14 to honor his memory, however, the Pope referred to the martyr and his acts as “being known only to God” because not much was really known about Valentine the priest. One account from the 1400s describes Valentine as a temple priest who was beheaded near Rome by the emperor Claudius II for helping Christian couples wed. A different account claims Valentine was the Bishop of Terni, also martyred by Claudius II on the outskirts of Rome. Accordingly each year on February 14, we continue to honor Saint Valentine’s final efforts by celebrating our love for significant others, spouses, family, and friends but what if that’s not really the reason we do it?
Chaucer & The King
The medieval English poet Geoffrey Chaucer often took liberties with history, placing his poetic characters into fictitious historical contexts that he represented as real. No record exists of romantic celebrations on Valentine’s Day, Feb 14th prior to a poem Chaucer wrote around 1380. In his work “Parliament of Fouls,” he links a tradition of courtly love with the celebration of St. Valentine’s feast day–an association that didn’t exist until after his poem received widespread attention. The poem refers to February 14 as the day birds (and humans) come together to find a mate. Pardon the middle English but when Chaucer wrote, “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate,” he may have invented the holiday we know today. Of course, history also tells us that 150+ years later, the 14th of February was finally and officially designated St. Valentine’s Day in 1537 by King Henry VII of England.
Why All the Flowers
For centuries, flowers have long symbolized fertility, love, marriage, and romance, but the romantic history of giving your loved one Valentine’s Day flowers comes from the old-fashioned custom of sending floral bouquets to pass on non-verbal messages. Introduced in the 18th century by Charles II of Sweden, each flower had a specific meaning attached to it, making it possible to have an entire conversation using only flowers. Today, people continue to send flowers on special occasions or to express sentiments of love and admiration. Here’s a great visual guide for the meaning of rose colors to enjoy. It may even help a few folks pick the perfect color flowers to let their Valentine know how they feel about them.
Seize the Lovely Day Together
Now that you have more of an idea on how Valentine’s Day history has evolved through the ages, we hope you get to enjoy the day with friends, family, and your special Valentines. As a special couple’s treat maybe you should make time this weekend to come see a few of our premier Brock Built communities. Perhaps this romantic holiday is the perfect time to start thinking about your next steps together. This is a great time to buy before Spring arrives. We have homes and communities available for viewing in many wonderful locations – including Woodstock, Norcross, Marietta, Dekalb and other Atlanta locations.