Valentines Day History
A Little History - Associated
with all those in love, being named after the patron
saint of lovers 'St. Valentine'. It was the
Christian Church who popularised this day in the reign
of Emperor Claudius. St. Valentine was a young
priest who defied an edict from Rome and the Emperor
that prohibited young males in the army from marrying.
It was believed that if a soldier were to marry this
would lessen his strength and dedication to the cause
changing them into poor soldiers. St. Valentine defied
the edict and continued to conduct wedding ceremonies
and for this defiance he was executed on February 14
in AD 269.
Valentine's Day is also known as the 'Eve of Roman Lupercalia'. This was a time of great celebration, a celebration of youthful love. Chance seemed to play a large part in this festival as sweethearts were chosen by a system similar to a lottery. Since Ancient Greek and Roman times this day has held a central focus in the folkloric calendar.
More recent traditions involve men and women exchanging cards which contained love dedications or even marriage proposals, each highly decorative, hand-made and personally designed. This tradition commenced in the Middle Ages. The sender then as now should never sign the card as it was considered to bring bad luck. Of course it also stifles any idea of guessing who might be in love with you. The idea of the secret admirer has long charmed both men and women alike.
Love divination games were very popular during the Victorian period for young lovers. There are many divination rituals and games. One of the most often used involved the potential lover writing the name of their favourite persons on a piece of paper and sealing it in clay which was then dropped into a bowl of water. The first clay to rise to the surface when opened would reveal the name of their future sweetheart or 'Valentine'. Sending a gift to the person was the next step towards revelation and happiness in love.
In America and also in England (UK) it is traditionally believed that a young girl is able to tell what sort of man she will marry by the first bird she sees on this day. Each bird has an association with a profession or type of character but yellow birds in general are thought to be extremely lucky if seen in flight or perched nearby on this day.