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Love songs, poems, ballets, plays, sculptures, paintings, holidays, the world is strewn with the artefacts of intense romantic love. Love is a powerful emotion. It can build us up, and tear us apart, but where would we be without it?
Through the centuries the word “Love” evolved significantly, beginning with the ancient Greeks’ recognition of the need to describe more than one kind of love, inventing the word “eros” to describe carnal love, and “agape” to mean a spiritual love.
In ancient times, marriages were primarily a business relationship or political alliance and according to an old French custom, the spouses had to drink a brew called “metheglin”, which was made from honey, to celebrate their union. Hence, we got the word “Honey moon”!
During Medieval times, the importance of love in a relationship emerged as a reaction to arranged marriages, but was still not considered a prerequisite in matrimonial decisions. Suitors wooed their intended with serenades and flowery poetry, following the lead of lovelorn characters on stage and in verse.
During the Victorian Era, romantic love became viewed as the primary requirement for marriage and courting became even more formal – almost an art form among the upper classes.
And from there Love took a deeper and broader meaning also thanks to the invention of Valentine’s Day! But where do such traditions actually come from?
This day is in fact clouded by various fanciful legends. Valentine’s Day is a very old tradition, thought to have originated from a Roman feast. The Romans had a festival called Lupercalia in the middle of February – officially the start of their springtime. As part of the celebrations, boys had to extract names of girls from a box. During the festival, the couples formed from the lots, would be cermoniously named boyfriend and girlfriend and sometimes they would even be ‘married’. Later on, the church wanted to turn this festival into a Christian celebration and decided to use it to remember St Valentine as well. It is also said that after St Valentine was arrested for giving aid to prisoners, he is said to have fallen in love with a girl, sending her a note saying “From your Valentine”, from here the tradition to send cards to express people’s feelings to those they loved.
And you, how will you express love this Valentine’s day?
Keep us posted!