Most people are familiar with the modern commercial occasion to sell sentimental greeting cards and gifts for couples. For some it is an excuse to spoil your partner with gifts and a romantic date, while for others it is an unwelcome cause of anxiety. Earlier versions of St Valentine’s Day, however, connect to themes of good health and renewal of a fertile natural world. An older version of the occasion in Slovenia invoked the saint of spring, patron of pilgrims and beekeepers. In Slavic folklore this was a day to start work in vineyards and it was the day that birds were believed to get married. In late medieval France, Valentines feasts involved music and jousting tournaments. Noble ladies would pass judgement on the disputes of lovers. Earlier incarnations of the celebration pay tribute to at least one of a few Saint Valentines martyred in the late Roman Empire. The legends of these saints were often confused and embellished with stories involving the officiating of forbidden Christian weddings. The earliest mid-February tradition at the root of St Valentine’s Day is the pagan holiday Lupercalia, a Roman fertility festival. Christians made efforts to replace Lupercalia with veneration of martyred saints. Who knew there was so much interesting history attached to this romantic holiday!
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY EVERYONE FROM ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS AT SPRINGTIDE WHALE WATCHING IN VICTORIA, BC