by Sagnik Biswas (L&T-MHPS Boilers Pvt. Ltd.)
The month of February has come. And Spring’s footsteps can already be heard!
Now, what’s moving inside our chests? Oh, that’s the heart, grooving!
Love. The most positive feeling any sentient being can experience. For many it defines the purpose of existing. For all it becomes the building block of individual persona – for better or for worse. It’s soft, it’s tender, and it can make you move a boulder. No, literally, that wasn’t an exaggeration. There are numerous examples of extraordinary acts performed out of love littered over the internet. But honestly, if we have to look that far, there is bad news regarding our perception.
For love exists around us each day, every moment, may be even in every passing breath. In a man waiting for his woman at an unsafe road to take her home on her way back from office late at night, in a woman striving for a whole day preparing a surprise for her man, in a mom waking up at an ungodly hour to prepare the meal for her better half and little ones, in a dad working that extra amount of overtime to provide for a holiday for the family – love flows and thrives. We just need to open our eyes wide enough to perceive, and appreciate, for that little amount of appreciation provides the greatest amount of satisfaction for each and every individual.
But it’s the month of February, so why am I ranting on about Love? Because, no points for guessing, Saint Valentine’s Day – celebrated on 14th February, 2020. Why don’t we take a peek in the history for the story behind the relationship between Saint Valentine’s Day and the celebration of love? I promise you, it won’t be boring.
The time was 3rd century, Christianism was on the rise. However, their number was few, and as such other religions did not take it very well. Particularly in Rome, where Paganism was prevalent. In Roman empire, persecution of christians was a regular occurrence between 64 AD to 313 AD. However from 250 AD the scale became bigger. Emperor Decius became hell-bent on reinforcing the Roman Emperor and strengthening its religion, i.e Paganism – and an easier way out was to lessen the number of Christians. Hence began the Decius Persecution which continued for 18 months.
Saint Valentine of Rome was born in 226 AD. Persecution of christian was in full bloom then. There are various tales affiliated to Valentine’s deeds during the time – the most notable two are providing ministerial services to the persecuted christians and performing clandestine weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. Of course these actions put his life at more risk – practising the religion openly even in the blatantly hostile environment and moreover directly defying a directive of then Roman Emperor Claudius II. But the risks proved to be of little impediments in his mission, as his love for his people and the will to uphold love was relentless. But love does not win all the wars, especially when love had no weapon except kindness. Hence eventually he was imprisoned, and ultimately executed on the day of 14th February, 269 AD. A martyr for love.
The day of the martyrdom of Saint Valentine was first associated with romantic love during the 14th century. To be precise, Geoffrey Chaucer made the association in his poem Parliament of Foules (1382). This poem was written to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia. The precise verses were:
“For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,
When every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”
And thus started the tradition of celebrating romantic love on the 14th day of February.
An interesting piece of history – nothing too dazzling but still noteworthy. It is important to know to understand the significance of the tradition, but it is even far more important to remember to love our nearest and dearest ones. And honestly there should not be any day, month or even year designated for it. For it should exist in every moment of our life, in every breath we take. But nevertheless it is indeed beneficial to have the Valentine’s Day, as the hustle and bustle of our busy lives tends to cloud our vision enough to forget about love. So as the spring comes and Valentine’s Day approaches, let us remember –
“When the little bluebird
Who has never said a word
Starts to sing “Spring, spring”
When the little bluebell
At the bottom of the dell
Starts to ring, ding ding
When the little blue clerk
In the middle of his work
Starts a tune to the moon up above
It is nature, that’s all
Simply telling us to fall in love
And that’s why birds do it, bees do it
Even educated fleas do it
Let’s do it, let’s fall in love…”