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What is the meaning of Valentine's Day?

Posted: Wednesday, 16 May 2018 @ 13:18

February is here, which means that Valentine's Day is just around the corner!  We've been preparing for one of our favourite occasions by doing some research into the origins of the St. Valentine legend, why the heart is the symbol of love, and why Valentine's Day is a globally popular day...

 

What is the legend of Valentine's Day?  

The most popular legend of how Valentine's Day came to be is that St Valentine - a priest in Rome - was arrested after secretly marrying Christian couples, who were being persecuted by Emperor Claudius 11 in the third century AD. As helping Christians was a crime, he was imprisoned.  

According to some, St Valentine fell in love with the jailor's daughter while in prison. On the 14th of February, his execution day, he sent his lover a letter signed ‘from your valentine’ as his goodbye.  

The feast of St Valentine was first celebrated and recognised by Pope Gelasius 496 AD. He included St Valentine within the people “….whose names are just reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.”

 

Why is the heart associated with love?  

The heart has long been associated with knowledge and feelings. The Ancient Egyptians believed that the heart was where our memories resided, as well as our emotions.  

The Ancient Greeks also believed that the heart was in control of reason, thought and emotion.  

In the Middle Ages, the heart began to appear in Christian art and literature as a symbol of Jesus Christ and his love.  

By the 1600s, the heart was naturally adopted as the official symbol of Valentine’s Day.

 

Why do we celebrate Valentine's Day?

The day first became associated with romantic love as early as the 14th century, within courtier circles.  

By the 18th century, the occasion was well established and people began to send each other flowers, confectionary and greetings cards known as ‘valentines’.  

It is now one of the most widely celebrated occasions, with different Valentine's festivities taking place all over the world on 14th February.

 

Use this day to think about those who are close to you; those you love dearest; and all those who have lost loved ones.

There are many mantras that can help keep us feel loved and supported; and many to remind us to choose love above all else. The mantra we like for Valentine's Day, is 'May we all be surrounded by love'.

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