I will admit that I have been a cynic. I have for years wished everyone a “Happy Hallmark Valentines Day”. You could say that I just chalked up the day as another way for some to make money and for others to be nice to their loved ones once a year. In my mind, you should be nice to those you love every day of the year, not just one. Well…I admit I was wrong.
I did some checking to see what the history of Valentines Day was and much to my surprise I learned that the day has actually been around since before the 14th Century. Prior to the 14th century it was a day to celebrate the martyrs named Valentine. In 1382 the first recorded writing of Valentines Day being associated with love was Chaucer’s poem written for the first anniversary of King Richard II and Anne of Bohemia’s engagement. There is much controversy as to the exact date that Chaucer was referring to, however, it still remains to be the first recorded writing associating the two.
There you have it, I was wrong. Knowing that Hallmark made it’s debut onto the greeting card scene in 1910, I’d say the celebration of love on February 14 has had it’s mark on history much longer and deserves at least to be recognized as a day of celebration. I apologize to all those who have endured my cynical attitude toward the day in question, I promise to be more “loving” here on out on that “celebrated day of love”.
I know the day held great significance for my parents and they bestowed that upon my brother and I growing up. I mean, it was like Halloween all over again with the candy hearts we woke up to. My children used to get heart pancakes on Valentines Day when they were younger and my husband and I usually have exchanged cards and roses over the years. So when did I become cynical? I guess it happened when I realized that some people only used it as a day to be nice to those they otherwise would not be. I saw the florists rake in the dough on flowers of guilt purchased by husbands who work long hard hours and remember at the last moment that the day is about love. Wrong, yes! Honest, yes! Remorseful, yes! So my friends far and near…
Happy Valentine’s Day!
And in recognition of Chaucer, here is a little piece of history (note that this is only a few lines of the poem that is actually around 700 lines):
The Parliament of Fowls
A garden saw I, full of blossomy boughs
Upon a river, in a green mead,
There as sweetness evermore enough is,
With flowers white, blue, yellow, and red,
And cold well-streams, nothing dead,
That swimming full of small fishes light,
With fins red and scales silver bright.
On every bough the birds heard I sing,
With voice of angels in their harmony;
Some busied themselves birds forth to bring;
The little coneys to here play did hie.
And further all about I could see
The dread filled roe, the buck, the hart and hind,
Squirrels, and beasts small of gentle kind.
Of instruments of strings in accord
Heard I so play a ravishing sweetness,
That God, that maker is of all and lord,
Had heard never better, as I guess.
Therewith a wind, scarcely it might be less,
Made in the leaves green a noise soft
Accordant to the fowls’ song aloft.
Th’air of that place so a-temperate was
That never was grievance of hot nor cold.
There wax also every wholesome spice and grass;
No man may there wax sick nor old;
Yet was there joy more a thousandfold
Than man can tell; never would it be night,
But always clear day to any man’s sight.