If you ever wondered why we celebrate love and romance in the middle of winter, with fresh spring-like flowers, no less, a UCLA professor has the answer:

We're wrong.

The director of UCLA's Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Henry Ansgar Kelly, says we got the date mixed up (wouldn't be a first for us guys):

Actually, the researcher says, there have been 33 days in history named for Valentine and as many as 50 people named Valentine (Latin for “valor”) celebrated.

This in an article reprinted by UCLA just for this special lovers' day.

So what's the deal?


It wasn't until the 14th century that Valentine's Day became associated with romance. Kelly credits English author Geoffrey Chaucer with making the love connection.

The year was 1381, and the author best known for the Canterbury Tales was employed in the court of Richard II. Chaucer's boss had managed to edge out two competitors — a French prince and a German nobleman — for the hand of Anne of Bohemia. On May 3, the king announced their engagement.

Kelly says: “The confusion helps explain why, for most of the Northern Hemisphere, such Valentine's Day staples as fresh flowers and love birds just aren't consistent with this time of year.”

The school continues:

The shift of the day of lovers to Feb. 14 occurred shortly before the poet's death in 1400, Kelly found. Once established as a day for romance, Feb. 14 began to attract imagery that had been associated with love since antiquity, including hearts and cupids.

So what then? True players can celebrate on both days.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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