Using the language of the law courts for the rituals of courtly love, a High Court of Love was established in Paris on Valentine's Day in 1400. The court dealt with love contracts, betrayals, and violence against women. Judges were selected by women on the basis of a poetry reading.
The origins of St. Valentine's Day as a celebration of love is, at best, confusing. But to eternal lovers, that does not matter. According to Wikipedia, the first known written Valentine was a fifteenth-century rondeau written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife.
Je suis Desja d'amour tanne
Ma tres doulce Valentinee...
(I love tanned Desja
My very sweet Valentine...)
Valentine's Day is mentioned ruefully by Ophelia in Shakespeare's Hamlet (1600-1601):
Tomorrow is Valentine's day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes,
And dupp'd the chamber door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.
But maybe the earliest comment on Valentine's Day came from Geoffrey Chaucer in his Parlement of Foules (1382), a poem written to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia.
For this was on seynt Volantyns day
Valentine's Day has many symbols denoting love as eternal, ethereal and whimsical. Roses and chocolates are modern day standbys -- and who could argue with either of these. Cupid, the Roman God of Love who was the son of Venus the Goddess of Love, is often depicted as a mischievous winged child. He has become associated with Valentine's Day because his arrows pierce the hearts of his victims causing them to fall deeply in love.
Here at Vintages, we love Valentine's Day. We get to bring out all the love tokens -- hearts of all types, beautiful cards, keys, kisses, cupids and angels, too. And never forget jewelery as a direct path to a lover's heart.