Feb. 14th – Valentine’s Day
Saint Valentine’s Day, also known as Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is a holiday observed on February 14 each year. It is celebrated in many countries around the world, although it is not a holiday in most of them.
Each year on February 14th, many people exchange cards, candy, gifts or flowers with their special “valentine.” The day of romance we call Valentine’s Day is named for a Christian martyr and dates back to the 5th century.
The origins of Valentine’s Day are not clear. It is thought that there were a number of local fertility festivals in Europe in pre-Christian times. These were often in the middle of February. Many people also thought that birds chose their mates at this time of year. Around the year 1380, the English poet Chaucer wrote a poem for the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia. This is thought to be the first association between celebrations of romantic love and St Valentine’s Day on February 14. The connection remained important throughout the middle ages.
In the mid-19th century, there was an increase in interest in Valentine’s Day, first in the United States, then in Canada. It was promoted by manufacturers of paper lace and cards as a means of increasing their sales. Gradually, this date was seen as an occasion for a man to present gifts to a woman with whom he had or would like to have had a romantic relationship. It was also customary for lovers to exchange handwritten notes. These have now largely been replaced by commercially produced cards.