“St Valentine’s Day” began as a celebration of a saint named Valentinus. But so little can be verified about this saint, the Roman Catholic Church dropped his name from the General Roman Calendar in the swinging, sexy 1960s.
Legend goes, however, that Saint Valentine of Rome was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians who were persecuted by the Roman Empire. According to the story, during his imprisonment, he healed the daughter of his jailer and before his execution wrote her a letter signed, “Your Valentine”.
And so, Valentine’s Day became associated with romantic love in the Middle Ages as the tradition of courtly love flourished. By 18th century England, the day evolved into an occasion for exchanging flowers and treats that expressed love. In Europe, Saint Valentine’s keys are given to lovers as a romantic symbol and an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart.
What’s Cupid got to do with it?
Cupid is the god of desire, erotic love, attraction, and affection. He is often mentioned as the son of the Love Goddess, Venus. He’s also often mentioned with his Greek mythology counterpart “Eros”. In 300 BC he is portrayed as a slender youth, but has somehow now evolved into a chubby boy.
The source of Cupid’s power is his bow and arrow which, with a shot, can fill anybody (even a deity) with uncontrollable desire, “Love conquers all”. The arrow is said to “wound”, just as love wounds the heart. Apparently Cupid is winged because lovers are flighty and he’s seen as boyish because love is irrational. It’s even said that the “Bleeding Heart” flower is Cupid’s doing! [Edmonton only has these sorts of pained love flowers in the summer.]
Zocalo’s Love Lines
We celebrate for fun, for love, for lore and for a good story. So, whatever arrows, saints and love letters inspire you, come join us in the celebration of love, February 14.
You can read more about our lovely treats in February here. Lots of love from all of us at Zocalo!