Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day in the Middle Ages

Valentine's Day gained popularity during the Middle Ages. Lovers celebrated the day by exchanging love notes and simple gifts such as flowers. The idea of linking Valentine's Day with love in the Middle Ages was strengthened by the notion that birds began to look for a mate during this time.

Adelaide Kane and Toby Regbo, Reign (2013-)

In fourteenth and fifteenth century France and England, poets further promoted the concept of linking Valentine's Day with romantic love. Geoffrey Chaucer wrote in the 14th century Parlement of Foules:

For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne's day'
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.

The first known Valentine is said to have been written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. The greeting is part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.

Max Irons and Rebecca Ferguson, The White Queen (2013)

Historians also say that Saint Valentine of Rome sent a letter signed "From your Valentine" to his sweetheart, who was the jailer's daughter, a day before he was executed on February 14, 498 AD. This phrase is still popular among lovers.

One very popular legend of Valentine's Day states that the festival originated from the Feast of Lupercalia -- a fertility festival celebrated in mid February by ancient Roman during pagan times. The festival paired young boys and girls through a lottery system who would fall in love and marry.

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