All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes,
And dupp'd the chamber-door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.”
~~ William Shakespeare, Hamlet,
Act IV, Scene 5 Valentine's Day
as ruefully mentioned by Ophelia in Hamlet (1600–1601
Saint Valentine's Day, commonly known as Valentine's Day, or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is observed on February 14 each year. It is celebrated in many countries around the world, although it remains a working day in most countries.
The first recorded association of Valentine's Day with romantic love was 631 years ago in Parliament of Foules (1382) by Geoffrey Chaucer.
For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
["For this was on Saint Valentine's Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate."]
This poem by Chaucer was written to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia. A treaty providing for a marriage was signed on May 2, 1381. (When they were married eight months later, they were each only 15 years old).
The most popular martyrology associated with Saint Valentine was 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; during his imprisonment, he is said to have healed the daughter of his jailer Asterius.
Legend states that before his execution he wrote "from your Valentine" as a farewell to her.
Today, Saint Valentine's Day is an official feast day in the Anglican Communion, as well as in the Lutheran Church.
The Eastern Orthodox Church also celebrates Saint Valentine's Day, however on July 6th in honor of Roman presbyter Saint Valentine, and July 30th, in honor of Hieromartyr Valentine, the Bishop of Interamna.
Numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine. The Valentines honored on February 14 are Valentine of Rome (Valentinus presb. m. Romae) and Valentine of Terni (Valentinus ep. Interamnensis m. Romae). Valentine of Rome was a priest in Rome who was martyred about AD 269 and was buried on the Via Flaminia. The flower crowned skull.
The modern cliché Valentine's Day poem can be found in the collection of English nursery rhymes Gammer Gurton's Garland (1784):
The honey's sweet, and so are you.
Thou art my love and I am thine;
I drew thee to my Valentine:
The lot was cast and then I drew,
And Fortune said it shou'd be you.
According to the U.S. Greeting Card Association approximately 190 million valentines are sent each year in the US. Half of those valentines are given to family members other than husband or wife, usually to children. When you include the valentine-exchange cards made in school activities the figure goes up to 1 billion, and teachers become the people receiving the most valentines. Also, many send Valentines Day chocolates and other candies.
New traditions have evolved with the internet. Millions of people today use digital (e.g., eCards, eCoupons, etc.) to send Valentine's Day greeting messages. An estimated 15 million e-valentines were sent in 2010. Below are two sets of Valentines Day card collages, to view detail, zoom in 150% to 200%.
♦ Valentines Day Ecards http://www.americangreetings.com/ecards/valentines-day?source=aggoogle548
♦ Greeting Card Association http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greeting_Card_Association
♦ No better place to say "I Love You" than Times Square, TimesSquare.org http://www.timessquarenyc.org/events/valentines-day/index.aspx
♦ Guy Kawasaki Google Plus, https://plus.google.com/+GuyKawasaki/posts/8SaRPXr8cEA#+GuyKawasaki/posts/8SaRPXr8cEA
♦ Valentines Day Recipes & Cooking, FoodNetwork http://www.foodnetwork.com/valentines-day/package/index.html
All photos courtesy of Wikimedia and screen shots taken from video and websites. All other photos will be credited as required.
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