Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Time for a gift to my readers (see link below). It’s also the day when exactly what was said about it the year before is trotted out again:
Valentine’s Day: Origin
Saint Valentine was martyred on February 14, 269 AD by order of Emperor Claudius II. The reason varies. The future saint is said to have married couples against the wishes of the emperor who had banned marriage for men in the army. The future saint is also said to have tried to convert Claudius to Christianity, thereby angering the emperor. For either reason – or maybe both – Valentine was beheaded.
I rather like the theory that Valentine’s Day originated as an attempt to Christianize the ancient pagan festival Lupercalia, celebrated on February 15 in Rome to avert evil spirits, purify the city and release health and fertility.
Apparently from the time of King Solomon the rose was already a symbol of Love and Romance. And then there are there the stories of Cleopatra strewing the ground with rose petals when receiving Marc Anthony.
So joining the day to celebrate love with a bouquet of roses was ready-made.
Valentine’s Day: Present
The day started to gain in popularity in the 1800s in England. Before the twentieth century people hand made cards. When Hallmark was founded in 1913 the manufactured card industry took off. Valentine’s Day is now the second biggest card-sending day of the year. (Christmas is #1, Mother’s Day is #3.)
The Hallmark Channel does the day up big, too.
It is now a worldwide phenomenon. When I spent 6 months in Vietnam in 2012, I noticed Valentine’s Day decorations around Saigon for the entire month of February.
Valentine’s Day: My Gift
I can’t offer you flowers or chocolates. I can offer you the free download to my latest short story set in Georgian London, John Carter’s Conundrum.
See also: What Romance Novels Have Taught Me
This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen