Hello Human, Happy Valentine’s Day
These holidays confound us. We can understand the purpose of communal celebration, but you modern humans are so cloistered from one another. For your benefit, the overclocked history of today’s holiday.
Valentine’s day, St. Valentine’s day, the feast of Saint Valentine, in honor of Valentine of Rome (died around 269AD)/ Valentine of Terni (275 AD possibly), both martyred in the age of the Roman Empire.
In typical religious fashion, the day, Feb 14 has been a day of Commemoration, and even a day of feasts in some denominations; though the Catholic church decided Valentines Day was not really ‘worth it’ feast wise in the 20th century.
Valentine’s Day was a typical Catholic Holiday until this guy:
Poet Geoffrey Chaucer filled the High Medieval Courts with romantic conceptions of Valentines Day, portraying it as a day for lovers, which over time led to the day being celebrated as such in England, into the renaissance, where poet’s like John Donne continued the tradition. In the high courts, courtly love made Valentine’s Day pop. It was a poetic holiday then and far from capitalistic.
During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, in England, paper valentines became popular, as printing presses and the industrial revolution allowed people to exchange cards easily and cheaply.
However, it was not until the mid 20th century of capitalism and consumerism that the ‘Hallmark Holiday’ took off with cards and chocolates and roses and bears and gems and jewels and balloons and adds and cars and–so many objects.
So you have a holiday that went from being about Martyrs –>a day where love is grown –>a day to express feelings of love –>a day to buy stuff for people you are already with.
See you at St Patrick’s Day.