Tomorrow is St Valentine’s Day, which got me thinking about the day’s origins.
Valentine’s Day has been marked in liturgical calendars for centuries. As a Christian feast day, Valentine’s Day actually commemorates two Saint Valentines: Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni.
But Valentine’s Day only became associated with romantic love during the late fourteenth century, when Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343-1400), author of The Canterbury Tales, made the association in his poem ‘The Parlement of Foules’ (written to honour the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia- both fifteen years old).
The poem features a parliament, or assembly, of birds, which have gathered together in order to choose their mates:
‘For this was on seynt Volantynys day / Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.’
Since literature seems to be the origins for modern Valentine’s Day, then it is still the perfect medium in which to talk about love, and here are two of my favourite literary love quotes:
“You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how”
Gone with the wind by Margaret Mitchell
“I’ve never had a moment’s doubt. I love you. I believe in you completely. You are my dearest one. My reason for life”
A quirky read about the 99 days it takes to catch the family guard dog which has escaped out on to the trails of Logar, Afghanistan. It’s a lovely insight into Afghan life seen through the eyes of a child/teenager, woven around the country’s history and it’s traditional folk tales and legends.
This was good. I was quite sad to leave those moody, complicated teenagers behind. They stayed with me most of the day after finishing the book. I’m still not sure who ‘did it’ but I guess that is the point- the closed world of the teenager that the parent never quite gets a handle on. This was a good ‘sunny bank holiday in the garden’ read.