The Feast Of Valentine

14 Feb

Today is the day of red roses on demand, cheap and nasty cuddly toys with red glittery hearts, with sentiments of love stuck to them with cheap glue are sold by the bucket – I’m no cynic, but this short prelude’s a bit more interesting.

Saint Valentine

He is the Patron Saint of ; 1. betrothed couples, 2. against fainting, 3. bee keepers, 4.happy marriages, 5. love and not to forget plague and epilepsy – it’s all in there.
The feast of St. Valentine on 14th February was first established in 496 by Pope Gelasius I. But who exactly was Valentine. There are many legends and twists to history  but I’m going with the Nuremberg Chronicle  (Die Schedelsche Weltchronik) issue about the Roman Priest who was imprisoned for secretly marrying young people in the christian church. The emperor of the time – Claudius I, banned young people getting married – unmarried soldiers fought much better than married ones – as they worried too much about dying and leaving wife and child to suffer- hence not giving their all to Claudius’ need on the battle field.

After being caught for his shenanigans, Valentine was imprisoned by Claudius and tortured – he managed to heal a blind girl while all this was going on until his debated time of death (between 269 – 273). Another story pertains to Valentine being the  former bishop of Terni and while under house arrest of Judge Asterius – they began talking about faith and Valentine managed to heal Asterius’ blind daughter – like in the roman priest story. Valentine the Bishop of Terni came also to a sticky end in a similar way of that of Valentine the roman priest story.

‘Courtly Love’ – not Courtney Love

Valetines Day is alleged to have been in a more romantic association since the high middle ages  with the term “courtly love” – it was first popularized 1883 in the writing of Bruno Paulin Gaston Paris – who studied roman philology. Only in higher circles of society did ‘the idolizer’ accept the independence of his mistress (normally beig married to someone else) and tried to make himself worthy of her by acting bravely and honorably and by doing whatever deeds she might desire, subjecting himself to a series of ordeals to prove to her his love and commitment. Sexual satisfaction, Paris said, may not have been a goal or even end result, but the love was not entirely  platonic either. Hmm.
The term “courtly love” was taken on and widely accepted. In 1936  C.S Lewis wrote The Allegory of Love cemented “courtly love” was a “love of higher specialized sort” whose characteristics are humility and courtesy.

Enough said. Heres the weekend playlist devoted to love – starting with who other than Donna Summer with  Love To Love. Enjoy!


Outcast – Happy Valentines Day

The Bee Gees – Inside Out covered by Feist
Glen Hansard – Lover don’t Leave Me Waiting
Burt Baccarach/Herb Alpert –  This Guys In Love With You
Nick Cave –  Babe You Turn Me On
Joan Armatrading – Love And Affection
Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It On
Neil Young – When You Dance You Can Really Love
Neko Case – This Tornado Loves You
John Martyn – Couldn’t love you more
Cher’s cover of Shirley Bassey’s – The Way of Love
Tom Tom Club – Genius of Love

One Response to “The Feast Of Valentine”

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