Okay, so we all love Valentine’s Day. (At least, all we ladies do.) But we all probably have heard our loved ones grumble at one time or another about how Valentine’s Day is nothing but a “Hallmark Holiday,” a corporate conspiracy designed to sell cheap chocolates, teddy bears, and overpriced roses that will wilt within two days. (Sound familiar? My husband uses this excuse every year when he forgets to buy me a gift). But in reality, Valentine’s Day is an ancient holiday that dates back to Roman times. (Bethchya you never knew that.) Here’s a little background on the most romantic holiday of the year’s origins.
We’ve all heard of St. Valentine, and our modern Valentine’s Day was originally a feast day for this Catholic saint. But did you know there was more than one St. Valentine? Valentinus was a common male given name in Roman times, and there actually were several Roman Christian martyrs by that name. A pope made the day a feast day to St. Valentine in honor of two saints, Valintinus of Rome and Valentinus of Terni, in the 7th century, and it was observed along with other feast days throughout the Catholic calendar. However, this was not the first holiday to fall on February 14. (Indeed, in pagan Rome, February 14 was a holiday called Lupercalia, which was a fertility rite that involved a lot of sexually charged imagery.) But wasn’t until the 15th century that the St. Valentine’s holiday took on the sexual and romantic connotations of Lupercalia among Christians.
In the 15th century, you saw the widespread rise of “courtly love” of the High Middle Ages, which was a kind of romantic, non-sexual love that idealized women into the “fair maiden” standard that knights in shining armor went into battle to honor. Geoffrey Chaucer wrote about his “valentine” in his poetry, and something arose in France called the “High Court of Love,” which was held each Valentine’s Day and presided over by women on matters of the heart. It was out of the courtly love culture that our modern-day concept of romantic love arises.
And what better way to learn about modern-day medieval courtly love than by reading my book TENDER IS THE KNIGHT? This book tells the story of a young factory forewoman who stumbles upon a medieval world hidden away in our modern one—-the world of the Society for Creative Anachronism (www.sca.org), a place where people from all walks of life spend their weekends pretending to be knights and ladies from another time and place. Our heroine, Lisa Smith, meets her modern-day Knight in Shining Armor—-who sweeps her off her feet with his courtly love manners at their first meeting. But they have to overcome plenty of obstacles if they want to find their fairy-tale ending. Read this book and find out if they find their happy ending!
You can find TENDER IS THE KNIGHT at Decadent Publishing, www.decadentpublishing.com, as well as on Amazon, AllRomanceebooks.com, 1PlaceforRomance.com, Barnes & Noble, and other places that ebooks are sold. (The print edition will be out within the next month or so.)
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