Lá Fhéile Valintín Shona Posted by Bridgette on Feb 12, 2021 in culture, history
It is Lá Fhéile Vailintín on February 14th!
There are many stories and traditions linked to Valentine’s day, from both Ancient Rome to more recent modern Christianity. The most popular story is about St. Valentin of Rome, a widely recognized 3rd century Roman patron saint of love.
He would allegedly cut hearts out of parchment paper and distribute them to persecuted Christians to remind them of God’s love. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
In prison awaiting execution, legend states that St. Valentine cured a jailer’s daughter of blindness. He may have even fallen in love himself, since before his death he wrote the first ‘Valentine’s Day’ card to the young woman signing it “Your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today.
The Irish celebrate this day similarly as we do, showing their love through gifts, chocolates, and flowers. If you want to celebrate it in a very Irish way though, below I have shared a poem from the Irish poet William Butler Yeats, as well as some Irish expressions.
You could also get your loved one a Claddagh ring, which originated in the village of Claddagh in Galway back in the 18th century.
The ring’s design is a heart held by two hands with a crown on top, and each element has a specific meaning.
The heart symbolises love, the hands friendship, and the crown loyalty. In other words, the most important elements of any successful relationship and the perfect gesture for your Irish Valentine!
How you wear the ring is supposed to communicate your relationship status. Irish author Colin Murphy dictates the following rules for wearing the Claddagh ring:
- On the right hand with the point of the heart toward the fingertips: the wearer is single and may be looking for love.
- On the right hand with the point of the heart toward the wrist: the wearer is in a relationship.
- On the left hand with the point of the heart toward the fingertips: the wearer is engaged.
- On the left hand with the point of the heart toward the wrist: the wearer is married.
Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
– William Butler Yeats, 1899
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
Is tú mo ghrá – You are my love
Is tú mo anam cara – You are my soulmate
Is tú mo stóirín – You are my little sweetheart (anything with ‘ín’ at the end in Irish means ‘little’)
Is tú grá geal mo chroí – You are the bright love of my heart.
Táim i ngrá leat – I’m in love with you
Tá grá agam duit – I love you
Tá mo chroí istigh ionat – My heart is within you
Grá mo chroí – Love of my heart
A chuisle mo chroí – My heart’s beloved
Mo shíorghrá – My eternal love
Níl aon leigheas ar an ngrá ach pósadh – There’s no cure for love but marriage
Lá Fhéile Valintín Shona! – Happy Valentine’s Day!
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