|From The Parlement of Fowlys by Geoffrey Chaucer - image via Plantagenet|
A familiar line, penned by Geoffrey Chaucer as the opening lines of The Parliament of Fowls, written in 1382. Life is short - so much to learn, especially about love. Although Saint Valentine, the Christian martyr dates back to the fifth century, it is generally believed that Chaucer's work was the first to link St. Valentine with love, lovers and all things smoochy.
The poem states:
For this was on seynt Volantynys day (For this was on Saint Valentine's Day)
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make. (When every bird came there to choose his mate).
Unlikely, then that this was originally celebrated on 14th February - not usually the bird-mating season - but the poem clearly links the saint with love. And it stuck. Whilst to many now, it may seem like nothing more than commercial hype, specifically designed to get us to buy some over-priced card, box of chocolates, piece of jewellery or more to demonstrate our love to our chosen one, it would seem that this tradition - and our desire to learn the craft of love - has seen excesses of sentimental expressions for many centuries.
From the Middle Ages on, through Shakespeare's drama, the poetry of John Donne (love him!) to the overwhelmingly sugary Victorian Age - St. Valentine's Day has been the day to think of our loved ones with more than usual attention. My own FR - resistant to advertising - swears he loves me with passion every day and I believe him.We rarely do more than apologise for not capitulating to marketing pressures, have a big hug and continue as normal.
This year, looking for themes on which to base my English teaching classes, I have combined two things - one being St. Valentine's Day - it's a good one for learning new vocabulary about emotions and feelings.
Last week, in my most
And yesterday, Romy and I set to and made both men and hearts (plus a butterfly and a couple of unidentified things.) So today, as a token of how very special everyone is, the children have set off to school with a gingerbread heart in their 'tuckbox'. And for FR, some of my gingerbread men have little hearts - just for today. He knows he has mine always.
Happy Valentine's Day - how do you spent it? With lots of love, I hope.