Did you know this day was originally called Saint Valentine’s Day? Three people are associated with St. Valentine’s Day. Two of them were martyred in the third century. No one seems to know when the third was put to death. The Catholic Church later made the three of them saints and they are honored on this day.
My research revealed the custom of giving others Valentine’s cards and gifts was started in the Middle Ages. People noticed in mid February, the birds began to find their mates and pair up as birds do. You may get your field glasses and verify this if you like, but please restrict your observations to the birds. I don’t want anyone arrested for voyeurism.
In Chaucer’s (remember him from school? ) Parliament of Foules we find the quote, “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.” I’m sure you English majors out there use that quote every chance you get.
So the feast day of three martyrs evolved into a day dedicated to lovers. It became a day for writing love letters and sending lovers’ tokens (I didn’t know they had subways back then).Those who gave such gifts to one another usually addressed them as their Valentine.
Since then, this day has become a highly commercialized occasion providing us the opportunity to choose gifts, flowers, cards, balloons, and other items to present to our Valentine. How sweet.