Love is in the air! Valentine’s Day is next weekend and whilst the birds aren’t singing nor the bees buzzing (My Mum always said that birds have their mates for the coming year on Valentine’s Day) as it’s still very cold with snow forecast a bit of love does wonders for warming the heart! I thought this week I’d share some blends for Valentine’s day with you.
Saint Valentine’s Day was first established in 496 AD by Pope Gelasius 1 to celebrate the life of a Christian martyr named Valentine. There were several early Christian martyrs with the name of Valentine. The two that are celebrated on February 14th are Valentine of Rome who was a priest in Rome and martyred in AD 269. His relics are at the Church of St Praxed in Rome. The second is Valentine of Terni who became bishop in about AD 197. His relics are at the Basilica of Saint Valentine in Terni. In early medieval biographies no romantic elements are linked to either of these saints. By the fourteenth century when the name was linked to romance all mention of these martyrs had been lost.
A ‘High court of Love’ was established in Paris on Valentine’s Day 1400. The court dealt with love contracts, betrayals and violence against women. The earliest surviving valentine is a 15th Century rondeau written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife. He was at the time being held in the Tower of London after his capture at Agincourt
The Young Man’s Valentine Writer was produced by a British publisher in 1797. It contained hundreds of sentimental verses for the young lover who was unable to compose his own! Cards where already starting to be produced and with a reduction in postal rates during the next century gave rise to a less personalised but easier way of sending valentine cards. Cards could then be exchanged anonymously – this allowed for racier verses to be used in the prudish Victorian times.