Valentine's Day 2017: What has it got to do with love? And who was St Valentine?
St Valentine's Day, happens this Tuesday on February 14. It's a day where people show their love and affection for another person - usually in the form of cards, flowers, gifts and messages.
A vintage Valentine card with cupid flying an airplane with a stolen heart Credit: Alamy
Who was St Valentine?
The details are sketchy. Some say St Valentine was a priest from Rome who lived in the third century AD.
Emperor Claudius II had banned marriages, believing married men made bad soldiers and St Valentine is thought to have arranged marriages in secret.
Cupid in Blinded Love, detail from the Primavera, Sandro Botticelli, Credit: Alinari/Rex
He was imprisoned and sentenced to death for his crimes. There, St Valentine apparently fell in love
with the jailer’s daughter and sent her a love letter signed ‘from your Valentine’ on February 14th, the day of his execution, as a goodbye.
What's Cupid got to do with it all?
Cupid is the god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection. He is often portrayed as the son of the love goddess Venus and the war god Mars.
Cupid is also known in Latin also as Amor ("Love"). His Greek counterpart is Eros and he is just one of the ancient symbols associated with St Valentine’s Day, along with the shape of a heart, doves, and the colours red and pink.
He is usually portrayed as a small winged figure with a bow and arrow which he uses to strike the hearts of people.
People who fall in love are said to be ‘struck by Cupid’s arrow’.
Saint Valentine baptizing Saint Lucilla by Jacopo Bassano
People born on February 14th
Frederick Douglass (1818): author and activist, celebrated his birthday on Valentine’s Day, not knowing his actual birthdate.
Lois Maxwell (1927): Actress who played Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond movies.
Florence Henderson: born in 1934 actress singer best known for her role in the Brady Bunch as Carol Brady.
Meg Tilly (1960): Actress, dancer, and writer who starred in The Big Chill, Body Snatchers, Valmont and Psycho II and to date has written four novels.
Carl Bernstein (1944) Washington Post 'Watergate' journalist.
Kevin Keegan (1951) Ex- European footballer of the year and manager.
Rob Thomas (1972) Singer, songwriter and is the lead singer of Matchbox 20.
Mike Bloomberg (1942: ) The 108th mayor of New York City. Recorded as the tenth richest person in the United States with a net worth of $18 billion in 2010.
Simon Pegg (1970) Actor, comedian, writer, film producer, film director
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