While the European folk traditions connected with Saint Valentine and St. Valentine's Day have become marginalized by the modern Anglo-American customs connecting the day with romantic love, there are some remaining associations connecting the saint with the advent of spring. The day of love was traditionally March 12, the Saint Gregory's day, or February 22, Saint Vincent's Day. The patron of love was Saint Anthony, whose day has been celebrated on June 13. So how come that we are celebrating a day of love and happiness on February 14 then?
While the custom of sending cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts originated in Europe, Valentine's Day still remains connected with various regional customs. In Slovenia for instance, Saint Valentine or Zdravko was one of the saints of spring, the saint of good health and the patron of beekeepers and pilgrims. It has been celebrated as the day when the first work in the vineyards and in the fields commences. It is also said that birds propose to each other or marry that day. Valentine's Day has only recently been celebrated as the day of love.
The day was first associated with romantic love 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 and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). February 14 is celebrated as St. Valentine's Day in various countries. However, in the 1969 revision of the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints (yes, there is such a thing), the feast day of Saint Valentine on February 14 was removed and relegated to particular (local or even national) calendars for the following reason: Though the memorial of Saint Valentine is ancient, it is left to particular calendars, since, apart from his name, nothing is known of Saint Valentine except that he was buried on the Via Flaminia on February 14.
So in fact, on 14 February, we celebrate the fact that we know that Saint Valentine was buried on the Via Flaminia...different approach, but whatever!
Just make sure that, on this day, your otherhalf is simply happy to be yours. Happy Valentine's Day!
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