Valentines Day or Saint Valentines Day is an occasion celebrated on February 14 by many people throughout the world. In the West, it is the traditional day on which l o v ers express their l o v e for each other by sending Valentines cards, presenting flowers, or offering confectionery. The holiday is named after two among the numerous Early Christian martyrs named Valentine. The day became associated with romantic l o v e in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly l o v e flourished.
The day is most closely associated with the mutual exchange of l o v e notes in the form of "valentines." Modern Valentine symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten notes have largely given way to mass-produced greeting cards. The sending of Valentines was a fashion in nineteenth-century Great Britain, and, in 1847, Esther Howland developed a successful business in her Worcester, Massachusetts home with hand-made Valentine cards based on British models. The popularity of Valentine cards in 19th-century America was a harbinger of the future commercialization of holidays in the United States.
The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year, behind Christmas. The association estimates that, in the US, men spend in average twice as much money as women.
Numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine. Until 1969, the Catholic Church formally recognized eleven Valentines Days. The Valentines honored on February 14 are Valentine of Rome (Valentinus presb. m. Romae) and Valentine of Terni (Valentinus ep. Interamnensis m. Romae). Valentine of Rome was a priest in Rome who suffered martyrdom about AD 269 and was buried on the Via Flaminia. His relics are at the Church of Saint Praxed in Rome. and at Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland.
Valentine of Terni became bishop of Interamna (modern Terni) about AD 197 and is said to have been killed during the persecution of Emperor Aurelian. He is also buried on the Via Flaminia, but in a different location than Valentine of Rome. His relics are at the Basilica of Saint Valentine in Terni (Basilica di San Valentino).
The Catholic Encyclopedia also speaks of a third saint named Valentine who was mentioned in early martyrologies under date of February 14. He was martyred in Africa with a number of companions, but nothing more is known about him.
No romantic elements are present in the original early medieval biographies of either of these martyrs. By the time a Saint Valentine became linked to romance in the fourteenth century, distinctions between Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni were utterly lost.
In the 1969 revision of the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints, the feastday of Saint Valentine on February 14 was removed from the General Roman Calendar and relegated to particular (local or even national) calendars for the following reason: "Though the memorial of Saint Valentine is ancient, it is left to particular calendars, since, apart from his name, nothing is known of Saint Valentine except that he was buried on the Via Flaminia on February 14." The feast day is still celebrated in Balzan (Malta) where relics of the saint are claimed to be found, and also throughout the world by Traditionalist Catholics who follow the older, pre-Vatican II calendar.
The Early Medieval acta of either Saint Valentine were excerpted by Bede and briefly expounded in Legenda Aurea. According to that version, St Valentine was persecuted as a Christian and interrogated by Roman Emperor Claudius II in person. Claudius was impressed by Valentine and had a discussion with him, attempting to get him to convert to Roman paganism in order to save his life. Valentine refused and tried to convert Claudius to Christianity instead. Because of this, he was executed. Before his execution, he is reported to have performed a miracle by healing the blind daughter of his jailer.
Legenda Aurea still providing no connections whatsoever with sentimental l o v e, appropriate lore has been embroidered in modern times to portray Valentine as a priest who refused an unattested law attributed to Roman Emperor Claudius II, allegedly ordering that young men remain single. The Emperor supposedly did this to grow his army, believing that married men did not make for good soldiers. The priest Valentine, however, secretly performed marriage ceremonies for young men. When Claudius found out about this, he had Valentine arrested and thrown in jail. In an embellishment to The Golden Legend, on the evening before Valentine was to be executed, he wrote the first "valentine" himself, addressed to a young girl variously identified as his bel o v ed, as the jailers daughter whom he had befriended and healed, or both. It was a note that read "From your Valentine."
l o v e is any of a number of emotions and experiences related to a sense of strong affection and attachment. The word l o v e can refer to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from generic pleasure to intense interpersonal attraction. The word l o v e is both a verb and a noun. l o v e is not a single feeling but an emotion built from two or more feelings. Anything vital to us creates more than one feeling, and we also have feelings about our feelings (and thoughts about our feelings). This diversity of uses and meanings, combined with the complexity of the feelings involved, makes l o v e unusually difficult to consistently define, even compared to other emotional states.
As an abstract concept, l o v e usually refers to a deep, ineffable feeling of tenderly caring for another person. Even this limited conception of l o v e, however, encompasses a wealth of different feelings, from the passionate desire and intimacy of romantic l o v e to the nons e xual emotional closeness of familial and platonic l o v e to the profound oneness or devotion of religious l o v e. l o v e in its various forms acts as a major facilitator of interpersonal relationships and, owing to its central psychological importance, is one of the most common themes in the creative arts.
The English word "l o v e" can have a variety of related but distinct meanings in different contexts. Often, other languages use multiple words to express some of the different concepts that English relies mainly on "l o v e" to encapsulate; one example is the plurality of Greek words for "l o v e." Cultural differences in conceptualizing l o v e thus make it doubly difficult to establish any universal definition.
Although the nature or essence of l o v e is a subject of frequent debate, different aspects of the word can be clarified by determining what isnt l o v e. As a general expression of positive sentiment (a stronger form of like), l o v e is commonly contrasted with hate (or neutral apathy); as a less s e xual and more emotionally intimate form of romantic attachment, l o v e is commonly contrasted with lust; and as an interpersonal relationship with romantic overtones, l o v e is commonly contrasted with friendship, although other definitions of the word l o v e may be applied to close friendships in certain contexts.
When discussed in the abstract, l o v e usually refers to interpersonal l o v e, an experience felt by a person for another person. l o v e often involves caring for or identifying with a person or thing, including oneself (cf. narcissism).
In addition to cross-cultural differences in understanding l o v e, ideas about l o v e have also changed greatly over time. Some historians date modern conceptions of romantic l o v e to courtly Europe during or after the Middle Ages, although the prior existence of romantic attachments is attested by ancient l o v e poetry.
Because of the complex and abstract nature of l o v e, discourse on l o v e is commonly reduced to a thought-terminating cliché, and there are a number of common proverbs regarding l o v e, from Virgils "l o v e conquers all" to The Beatles "All you need is l o v e." Bertrand Russell describes l o v e as a condition of "absolute value," as opposed to relative value. Theologian Thomas Jay Oord said that to l o v e is to "act intentionally, in sympathetic response to others, to promote overall well-being."
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