Equal Space: Luchie Arguelles
Equal Space

'From Your Valentine' Greetings Immortalized

Feb 13, 2024, 12:09 AM
Luchie Aclan Arguelles

Luchie Aclan Arguelles

Columnist

I bet not everyone is aware of the actual origin of Valentine's Day!

February 14 is a "Lovers' Day" synonymous to gifts of flowers and chocolates with the most romantic love messages. As early as 1913, Hallmark has taken advantage of this and been making a killing in printing postcards of poetic dedication to lovers that eventually evolved into appealing but very commercial greeting cards.


While the universal Heart's Day coincides with Ash Wednesday this year, can the act be included in "abstinence and sacrifices" for Lent? In the observance of this 40-day religious commemoration, I guess missing just a simple greeting to a someone very special could be considered reprehensible as it is indefensible.


How It Started

It was in the third century that St. Valentine's, an Italian martyred priest, was associated with the tradition of love expression. Although declared a saint, his persona is still shrouded in mystery.


But there were actually three different Valentines or Valentin or Valentinus, all martyred for being Catholics at the time of Emperor Claudius II. This emperor decreed that all men should serve as soldiers and prohibited them from getting married.


One story goes that before one Friar Valentinus defied the order by secretly administering sacramental matrimony on young couples. Before he was tortured and killed by decapitation, Valentine wrote a letter to a girl who visited him in jail. This was signed "From your Valentine."


This expression has been immortalized and used to this day.


Cupid, The Matchmaker

Since Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as St. Valentine's Day. The saint was known as the saint of love. Hence, this day has since been unquestionably associated with couple's love.


One could feel forlorn having no one special to celebrate Valentine's Day with.


In the olden times in France and England, this is the season of the birds' mating.


Chaucer, an English poet, wrote the "Parliament of Foules," an anthology or a series of verses of romance and love, mentioning St. Valentine. This time of year, according to Chaucer, was opportune to choose a mate.


Parenthetically, the mythical character of Cupid, a Roman god, equivalent to Eros in Greek mythology, is associated with Valentine's Day.


Portrayed as a cherub with golden bow and arrow, Cupid frolicked on emotions to incite love on the loveless by targeting the heart.


St. Valentine Existed

Considered by many as mythical, St. Valentine really existed as a third century priest in Italy who also had the power to heal. He is also known as the patron saint of epileptics.


After execution, his body was buried in haste at a cemetery near the place of his execution before his body could be retrieved by other members of his faith. His skull and bones and relics now lie and on display in a catacomb near Rome.


Therefore, St. Valentine is as real as the Valentine's Day we don't forget celebrate.


This year's Love Day officially opens the Lenten season, the most propitious time to share love and kindness.


(email opinyon.luchieA@gmail.com)

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