Today is February 14th and I don’t suppose there are many people who don’t know that today is Saint Valentine‘s Day, also known as Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine. Although it’s not a holiday it is celebrated in many countries around the world.
St. Valentine’s Day began as a celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus. Several martyrdom stories were invented for the various Valentines that belonged to February 14, and added to later martyrologies.
A popular hagiographical account of Saint Valentine of Rome states that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. According to legend, during his imprisonment, he healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius. An embellishment to this story states that before his execution he wrote her a letter signed “Your Valentine” as a farewell.
The day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines“).
Valentine’s Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.
Years ago I bought a collection of greetings cards from the Victorian Era which included, Christmas, Easter, Halloween, 4th July and Valentines. All of them had been digitised and sold as stock photographs which I have used in some of my posts. I hope you like the ones I have used.