What can be divided endlessly and still not diminish?
That secret is not so hard to guess, but there’s another secret that Valentine’s Day will keep forever: how it began.
Some say that Valentine’s Day began with two saints in the early Christian church, both named Valentine, both said to have been martyred on February 14. One was a priest who secretly married couples after the Roman Emperor Claudius commanded that young men not marry (because single men were supposedly better soldiers). Another was a Christian jailed for not worshiping Roman gods. Children loved him so much that they tossed notes through his barred window. Since the Old French word galantine, meaning gallant or lover, sounded like Valentine, some say that people equated one or both of the St. Valentines with galantine and began to celebrate lovers on that day.
Other people say that Chaucer began the Valentine tradition when he wrote that birds started pairing off on February 14. (At that time, the calendar was different from the one we have now; their 14th was our 24th, which is closer to spring in the Northern Hemisphere.) So the day was celebrated as a time when couples got together.
It seems that Valentine’s Day will keep its beginnings a secret. But love’s best secret?
“Only love can be divided endlessly and still not diminish.”
– Anne Morrow Lindbergh –
Happy Valentine’s Day!
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Text and photos © 2018 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.