St. Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, but how many of us think about it beyond the giving and receiving of cards and gifts? The origins of this celebration are fairly sketchy and there are a few theories put forward. The one I favour is that this day has its origin in the Roman festival of Lupercalia. This was held in mid-February and celebrated the on-set of Spring and fertility. Apparently, men and women were paired off by lottery! This festival was replaced at the end of the 5th century by Pope Galasius I with St Valentine’s Day.
There were several Christian martyrs with the name Valentine, but St. Valentine’s Day may have been named after a priest martyred by the emperor Claudius II Gothicus. Legend has it that the priest signed a letter ‘from your Valentine’ to a lady he had befriended – the daughter of his jailer it is said. Some accounts say that he had healed her of blindness.
Others say that this day was named after a bishops – St. Valentine of Terni – although it is believed by some that these two saints could have been the same person.
Another account records that St. Valentine undermined the emperor’s orders by secretly marrying couples in order to prevent the husbands being sent off to war. It is thought that this is the reason his feast day is associated with love.
The first link of St. Valentine’s Day with love and the term ‘love birds’ comes from Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘Parliament of Fowls’ ,1382, in which he celebrated the engagement of the young 15 year old King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia. Although the earliest surviving Valentine’s note was sent by a Frenchman (surprise, surprise!) to his sweetheart. That gentleman was Charles, Duke of Orleans. He sent it from his prison cell in the Tower of London, having been captured in 1415 at the Battle of Agincourt. He refers to his wife as ‘my very sweet Valentine’.
William Shakespeare mentions St Valentine’s Day in Hamlet in Ophelia’s lament – ‘Tomorrow is St. Valentine’s Day, All in the morning bedtime, And I a maid at your window, To be your Valentine.’
Love really does make the world go around. All over the world people are showing love to others, not just romantically, but in so many other ways. Love is like a diamond – many faceted – and Reiki is one of many ways to show love and respect to others.
Diamonds are forever, they are beautiful and strong – as is love -it will be around forever and we can find beauty and strength in the giving and receiving of love.
By giving love to others you will receive love – not just on St. Valentine’s Day, but every day.