Thursday, January 3, 2013

St Valentine's Day Origins

February 14th, Valentine's Day.
A big day in the romantic card sending calendar.
Here in France, it's generally thought that this special day began when the Duke of Orleans was captured in 1415 and taken prisoner by the English.
Imprisoned in the Tower of London, he wrote love letters back to France and they were called Les cartes d'amities, sort of friendship/love cards.

Then there's the thought that most birds and animals have their mating and courtship rituals in mid February, exactly when Valentine's Day falls. Coincidence or not?

The town of St Valentin, also in Indre, France, holds many ceremonies on this day and people take the opportunity to renew their marriage vows there on Valentine's Day.

An old custom in France, that has now been banned, was for groups of single women to enter a house right opposite a house full of single men. They would then open the windows & call to each other, pairing off as they did so.
If a man rejected the woman he had paired off with, she would then light a fire and burn his photograph, hurling abuse at him whilst she did so.
Sadly, this all got out of hand, frequently ending up as a brawl and so was banned forever by the authorities.

So, whatever you like to believe about the origins of St Valentine's Day, it's very likely that it all began in France.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting post!

    There seem to be a lot of theories about St Valentine but this one sounds as if it could be the real origin of the holiday and all its customs.