Word Echoes from SANZ: “Celebrating Love”
Written by Helewise Arends on February 8, 2018
The romantic festival of St. Valentine’s Day is celebrated with enthusiasm in several countries around the world.
In 1537, King Henry VIII declared, by Royal Charter, that all England would celebrate February 14 as “Saint Valentine’s Day”.
It was originally started to celebrate love, fertility and new beginnings.
One of the most popular customs of Valentine’s Day observed worldwide is to go on a date with your sweetheart.
The custom originated from the popular English belief that birds chose their partners on February 14.
For this reason, Valentine’s Day was called “the Bird’s Wedding Day” in parts of Sussex.
During the medieval era of chivalry, the names of English maidens and bachelors were put into boxes and drawn out in pairs.
Each couple exchanged gifts and the girl became the man’s sweetheart for a year.
He wore her name on his sleeve and was bound by duty to attend and
protect her (the accepted origin of the phrase, “to wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve”).
A woman would show her respect to the man she admired by wearing a charm called a love-bagge near her heart.
This old custom of drawing names was considered a good omen for love and often foretold a wedding.
The belief is universal…..that if you are single, the first unmarried person you meet outside the house
on St. Valentine’s Day will exercise an important influence over your future destiny.
Another interesting ancient tradition not connected to Valentine’s Day (but romantic nonetheless) was that of Heaving.
On the day, groups of men were allowed to physically lift women off the ground in a chair specially adorned with ribbons and flowers for that purpose.
Sometimes a kiss was required as a condition of release; or rather, a kiss (or money) was bestowed as a “reward” upon the heaving party.
In some places, the mothers of the girls gave presents of food or milk, so as to bribe the boys to go away quickly.
The next day the women would exact their revenge by performing the same ritual on the men.
The chief colours associated with Valentine’s Day are pink, red and white.
Pink is a delicate, almost innocent shade of red and is also connected with Saint Valentine,
whose burial was said to have caused the pink almond tree to blossom.
Red is a symbol of warmth and feeling….the colour of the heart, while white represents purity and faith….a faith between two who love each other.
Although this day of “LOVE CELEBRATION” has seemingly become a commercial exploitation today,
these time-honoured words still keep drawing hearts together :
WiLL YoU Be My VALENTINE?
BLOGGER: HELEWISE ARENDS