IT wasn’t until the Middle Ages that the day first became associated with romance and is now the second most celebrated event
DID you know St Valentine’s Day didn’t start off linked with romance? Far from it. It began as a celebration of one or more (the exact number’s vague) early Christian saints named Valentinus.
According to one of the most popular stories, Saint Valentine was imprisoned for ministering to Christians persecuted under the Roman Empire. During his imprisonment, he’s said to have healed the daughter of his jailer Asterius and, legend has it, before his execution wrote “from your Valentine” as a farewell to her.
It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that the day first became associated with romance. And by the 15th century, it’d developed into a full-blown affair with flowers, chocolates and the exchange of greetings cards (known as ‘Valentines’). These days it’s the second most celebrated event around the whole world after New Year’s Eve.
Now, apart from keeping florists, confectioners and card makers in business, it also seems to help prop up the economy in these challenging times.
In the USA for instance, Valentine’s Day 2016 is estimated to be worth $20 billion. From a night out on the town to flowers and jewellery, Americans are planning to spoil their loved ones big time this Valentine’s Day.
Which reminds me of that old joke: A married couple’s already spent several hours at a shopping centre on the eve of St Valentine’s. Suddenly, the wife realises her husband’s gone AWOL.
Angrily she phones him, demanding: “Where are you, eh?”
Husband: “Darling, remember that jewellery store where you saw that gorgeous diamond eternity ring but I didn’t have the money that time and said, ‘Darling, it’ll be yours one day, really soon?’” Wife, trying to stop blushing and suddenly contrite, gushes: “Yes, I remember…darling!”
Husband: “Well, I’m in the wine bar next to that store.” Romantic, eh? Have a nice day!
Nora Johnson’s thrillers ‘Landscape of Lies,’ ‘Retribution,’ ‘Soul Stealer,’ ‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-johnson.com). All profits to Cudeca charity.