For the birds? Hardly! Valentine’s Day was reimagined by chivalrous medieval poets for all to enjoy, respectfully

For the birds? Hardly! Valentine’s Day was reimagined by chivalrous medieval poets for all to enjoy, respectfully

Valentine’s Day annoys many people.

For many in a relationship, the pressure to impress a partner can weigh heavily, and expensive gifts serve as a reminder of the relentless commercialization of the holiday. Meanwhile those still looking for love approach the day with trepidation – another reminder of their single status and the pressure to find a partner.

As a chivalric literary historian who has studied the origins of the holiday, I find this a shame. When the notion of Valentine’s Day as a day for romance emerged in the 1380s it was all about love as a natural life force – birds choosing their mates, the freedom to choose or refuse love and the arrival of springtime. But even then many people did not understand or value these things. In fact, that is why it was invented.

By Jennifer Wollock, Texas A&M University for The Conversation

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