Valentine - the patron Saint of Bees!
February 14th is Valentine's Day, the celebration of love. Established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD in honour of St Valentine in Rome the day became associated with romantic love in the 14th & 15th
Centuries but it wasn't until the 18th Century that couples started buying each other gifts to express their love. In Slovenia where beekeeping is a part of family life and daily activities St Valentine is also one of the saints of Spring, of good health and the patron saint of beekeepers. A proverb says St Valentine brings the "keys of roots" with plants and flowers starting to grow on this day. Mid- February was identified as the time to check livestock had survived the winter, when birds start to mate, flowers open and bees start to forage. Therefore as well as patron saint of love and romance St Valentine is also the patron saint of beekeepers, ensuring the sweetness of honey and the protection of beekeepers.
The association between bees and love became more apparent throughout history. Examples include bees appearing in Renaissance art, often pictured stinging cupid, the goddess of love, a representation of the pain caused by real love!
So now you know, when you think of Valentine's Day remember it's origins lie in Springtime, new hope, new life and bees foraging on flowers.
I'm off to show my bees some love now, till next time,