Saint Valentine’s Day - How Did It All Begin?
by Dr Renee Ralph, Co-Founder, The Brilliant Foundation
PERTH, Western Australia - Saint Valentine is the patron saint of lovers, epileptics, and beekeepers. The name is based on one or two legendary Christian martyrs. Saint Valentine was a Roman priest and physician who suffered martyrdom during the persecution of Christians by the Emperor Claudius II Gothicus in 3rd Century, Rome.
Keeping Faith and His Loving Note
Before he was killed for refusing to renounce his faith, he sent a loving note to a child he had been helping to teach, the daughter of his jailer, and that note eventually led to the tradition of sending Valentine's cards.
He was buried on the Via Flaminia, and Pope Julius I built a Basilica over his grave. Other historians identify him as the Bishop of Terni, Italy, who was martyred in Rome, and his relics were later taken to Terni.
Terni is the city of Saint. Valentine, protector of lovers. The Basilica that preserves his tomb is an important destination for pilgrims. Annually the entire city holds grand celebrations for their patron saint, culminating in his feast day on February 14th. Due to COVID19, these celebrations will be scaled back to the family households.
The Roman Catholic Church continues to recognise St. Valentine as a Saint of the Church, although he was removed from the General Roman Calendar in 1969 due to inefficient evidence. There are several prayers made to Saint Valentine’s and here’s one of them.
Prayer to Saint Valentine
I said a Valentine prayer for you and asked the Lord above to fill your heart and bless your soul With the precious gift of love. I asked Him for sincere love The kind that's meant to stay Just like the generous love You give to those you touch each day. I prayed for love from family And from every cherished friend Then I asked the Lord to give you His love that knows no end.
Commercialisation of Valentine’s Day in America
For some cultures, Valentine’s Day has become a commercial exercise and the excessive display of materialistic gifts to shower another individual with gifts may make the relationship deem artificial and fake. For years, Valentine’s day has always been infiltrated with grand romantic overtures, from intimate candle-lit meals to rose bouquets and presents that will send hearts a-flutter.
Lauren Spieza writes that “The transformation of Valentine’s Day as a consumer holiday is hazardous to American culture because monetizing love can make relationships feel disingenuous and materialistic.” It is so true when love is blindsided by giving things to compensate time loss spent with a person.
However, Valentine’s Day money-making industry has changed due to COVID19, the National Retail Federation has stated that consumers’ spending behaviour has changed. Consumers are still celebrating love, however it is different in a love quarantine bubble.
Expenditure have gone down and outings in commercial settings have changed considerably. In spite of the drop, a hefty $US28.1 billion spend by consumers have been predicted because creating loving moments and treasured experiences together is paramount in the face of the pandemic.
Valentine’s Day in Perth
In Perth, most Australians would avoid the restaurants to celebrate the Loved-Up Day.
Instead, young love, married couples and partners head to the parks and beaches with their picnic rugs and baskets filled with goods to either swim, play or watch the sun-set.
It is magical as the entire beach is transformed, filled with people flowing in celebrating Valentine’s Day.
It is heart-warming to see a 70 year old couple bringing their comfy chairs and side table, covered with a white and red checked table cloth, roses in a vase as a set-up, having their salad, sandwiches, and glasses of wine. They show us how it is done, enjoying each other’s company, with presence, poise and grace.
The teen in their bathers, order a pizza or fish and chips, lie happily on their colourful beach towels, having a splash in the ocean, relaxing and gazing in each other’s eyes. Oh so glorious to see young love.
Families and their troop cycle to the beach, building sandcastles, boogie boarding , body-surfing with the waves or having a game of beach volleyball.
Saint Valentine will be smiling from above to see all the acts of love today.