Blame it on Chaucer.
Apparently, he was the first to associate the celebration of Saint Valentine with romance when he wrote these words in his Parlement of Foules in 1392, according to Wikipedia:
For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
Translation: “For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”
Before that, the Valentines honoured on Feb. 14 were Christian martyrs named Valentine, the same Wikipedia entry says. And Saint Valentine’s Day is still commemorated in various religious communities.
But like the ancient Winter Solstice celebration, which became a celebration of Christ the Saviour (here comes the sun/son) and then devolved into the materialistic myth of Santa Claus and subsequent shopping frenzy every December, a solemn day of commemoration for Christian martyrs named Valentine succumbed to commercialism.
No surprise, huh?
Still, we humans have to have our courtship rituals, oui? And that’s really what Valentine’s Day has become for many: a time to participate in a mass love fest.
Indeed, that is what Valentine’s Day has become: a celebration of love, the personal kind, the intimate kind. Oh, yes, and the retail kind.
Could Chaucer have possibly foreseen the ripple effects of his words?
It is doubtful.
Personally, I’m grateful to Chaucer.
My love and I will be a little more romantic than usual on Valentine’s Day — though, we have been in the honeymoon stage for the past three years.
How about you?
Will you be cursing Chaucer this weekend?
Or will you get caught up in the spirit of Valentine’s Day?