February has traditionally been a wonderful time of year to raise the question of marriage. February 14th, Valentine’s Day is a suitably fitting day to ask that all-important question. A marriage proposal is a huge step forward for any couple, getting engaged marks, for many people, the beginning of a lifetime together and an eternal commitment.
Perhaps Valentine’s Day owes as much to the pagans as it does to any Christian Saint. February was named after the Latin februum, which means purification. The festival of Februa was held on February 15th in the old Roman calendar. It was a purification ritual consisting of spring washing and cleaning and was in harmony with the rainy weather of this time of year.
Another ancient Roman festival, Lupercalia, was held locally to the City of Rome between February 13th and the 15th. This was an archaic rite connected to fertility, but not of romance, but perhaps this was to become the seed of what we now know as Valentine’s Day. The feast of St. Valentine was first established in 496 by Pope Gelasius I, and it was suggested in the 18th century that this was created as an attempt to supersede the pagan holiday of Lupercalia, which the Pope also abolished.
Professor Jack Oruch of the University of Kansas has argued that prior to Geoffrey Chaucer, no links between the Saints named Valentinus and romantic love existed.
In Parlement of Foules (1382), Chaucer wrote:
For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
A nice day for a white wedding (proposal)
According to both early Roman and Celtic traditions spring begins in early February. In Finland, February is called helmikuu or the “month of the pearl”; when snow melts on tree branches, it forms droplets, and as these freeze again, they are like pearls of ice. So in many ways February the 14th is a great day to propose marriage! In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the 29th of February in a Leap year is said to be the one day when a woman can propose to her partner, so again February is arguably the best month to propose. Unfortunately 2008 was a leap year, so you will have to wait to 2012 to get the chance to propose again. . .
Valentine’s Day and Wedding Proposal Ideas
Before you drop down on one knee and ask "will you marry me". Here are some proposal of marriage ideas:
- Hire a chauffeur-driven limousine to help make your future fiancée know you are taking this marriage seriously! Pick her up at home or work and take her to a romantic restaurant for a candlelight dinner. Present her with the diamond engagement ring on the way home in the limo.
- A chauffeur-driven car is a great surprise for a Valentine’s Day Surprise too!
- The History of Valentine’s Day
- Brilliant Marriage Proposals