Qui était saint Valentin? (Who was Saint Valentine?)
Today is a day that is both loved (and possibly loathed) around the world. However, in France, a Saint-Valentin is particularly a holiday for lovers and only means one thing, Love.
Valentines Day has its origins in the life of the real Saint Valentine, who lived in the third-century. According to some Catholic tradition, Saint Valentine was martyred on a road to Rome in 269 AD. However, very little is known about him and stories about his life–and death–diverge. According to the French Catholic website Nominis...
“Il était, dit-on, évêque de Terni en Italie et jouissait du renom de thaumaturge. Un miracle le fit connaître comme chrétien et le préfet de Rome fit mettre à mort celui qui avait mis ses pouvoirs de prêtre et ses talents de médecin au service des chrétiens prisonniers pour leur foi.”
(He was, it is said, the bishop of Terni in Italy who was renowned as a miracle worker. One miracle in particular made him known as a Christian and the Roman government put him to death because he had used his powers as a priest and his medical knowledge to help Christian prisoners for their faith.)
According to another story, the Roman emperor Claudius admired Saint Valentine for his talents. Claudius told his fellow Romans, “Romains… écoutez comme cet homme parle avec sagesse et droiture.” (Romans, listen to how this man speaks with wisdom and righteousness.) However, despite his earlier admiration, Claudius felt threatened by Saint Valentine after he healed one of Claudius’ soldier’s daughters, who was blind, and decapitated him in 280 AD.
Whatever the circumstances of his life and death, why is Saint Valentine commemorated on February 14 around the world? In 495, Pope Gelasius decreed that February 14 would be consecrated to Saint Valentine. We don’t know exactly why, however. According to some traditions, it’s because mid-February was believed to be the time of year, in the Middle Ages, when birds paired off.
It, thus, became associated with romantic love. How did Saint Valentine become associated with romantic love? That’s more difficult to trace. However, English author Chaucer is typically credited with popularising the holiday in the fourteenth century–over one thousand years after the real Saint Valentine lived.
Blog submitted by: Alex at The French Property Network - Cle France.
This blog was originally posted on The French Language Blog pages.