My Funny Valentine

Red roses

Red roses
Attribution: By Kaz Andrew from Edmonton,Alberta, Canada (RED ROSES 5 Uploaded by Dolovis) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve been doing some investigating; I wanted to know where some of the traditions for Valentine’s Day come from. I discovered that the first mention of romantic love in connection with this day is in Parlement of Foules by Geoffrey Chaucer.

He wrote:

For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.

[“For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”]

This is probably why Valentine’s Day is sometimes known as the Birds’ Wedding Day. I have noticed that around this time of the year the birds start collecting my hair from the lawn to line their nests.

This song is probably the most famous song connected to Valentine’s Day. At first I didn’t think it was very romantic, but then I realised it is saying there is more to love than appearances – that is a refreshing message!

In Finland and Estonia the name for Valentine’s Day translates as Friend’s Day and the day is about remembering friends. In some South American countries the name translates as The Day of Love and Friendship, so tokens of appreciation are given to friends as well as loved ones.

In Slovenia Saint Valentine was one of the saints of Spring. It was said that on this day the plants start to grow and it was celebrated by beginning work in the vineyards and fields again after the break for winter.

There are different stories about who Saint Valentine was. In the 1969 revision of the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints, the feast day of Saint Valentine was removed from the General Roman Calendar because very little was known about Saint Valentine.

The Romans had a festival called Lupercalia that was celebrated 13 – 15 February. Pope Gelasius abolished Lupercalia and some researchers think that it was replaced with a festival for Saint Valentine, other researchers say there is no connection. That’s typical of bipeds! If one tells you something is true, you don’t have to look far to find half a dozen bipeds to tell you it is definitely not true.

The Lupercalia festival honoured the she-wolf that looked after the infants, Romulus and Remus, and also celebrated the new life that the Spring brings. I thought it was very nice to honour the wolf in this way, until I discovered that they sacrificed two goats and a dog every year!

The origins of Saint Valentine’s Day may have been lost in the mists of time, but I like the idea of it being a celebration that Spring is on the way. I will make sure that I leave some of my hair outside for the birds to use in their nests.

The mists of time

The mists of time

See you next Wednesday!

The Kissing Gate

As tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be nice to tell you about my experiences with kissing gates. There are two explanations of why they are named kissing gates. The first is that “kissing” is an engineering term to describe the gate touching the posts on either side. The second explanation is more romantic, so it’s my preferred one for Valentine’s Day. The older kissing gates have quite a restricted space, so a couple would have to go through one at a time. A kiss can be requested to allow the second person to swing the gate and pass through.

Kissing Gate - Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kissing_Gate,_Haysden_Country_Park._-_geograph.org.uk_-_189742.jpg

Kissing Gate – Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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