Londa celebrates Valentines Day – from a Saint’s last letter to an eternal message of love

“Early check-in, late check-out” – the ultimate way to celebrate Valentine’s Day at Londa Hotel! It’s all part of Londa’s exclusive Valentines Day Packages designed for couples with traditional “eidýllio” – i.e. romance – firmly in mind!

Sensual luxury of the boutique kind is the order of the day, of course! From Valentine cocktails and Dinner for Two followed by Late Breakfast in our Italian-style Caprice Restaurant. All the irresistible ingredients of love and romance, whether we call them “amour” or “agápi” – as it is called in Limassol – are sure to be on the Caprice menu on February 14th.

Cyprus is known as the mythic birthplace of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, herself – at Petra tou Romiou – only a few kilometres drive along the Limassol shoreline from Londa. Where else but the Mediterranean would you find the natural home for celebrating the eternal mystery of love and desire on Valentines Day!

But how many star-crossed lovers know the true story of St Valentine, and why this 3rd century AD Roman saint came to have a day honoured in his name? Did you know for example, that the name “Valentine” is derived from the Latin word “valens”, meaning worthy, strong and powerful?

Valentine secretly performed weddings for couples

There is still some confusion surrounding the name, which is attached to two – maybe three legendary but historically-based early Christian saints martyred on February 14 in AD 269. Plus, there could be as many as nine or ten other saints who share the name and are also commemorated in the Roman Catholic Church. The Feast of Saint Valentine, which we all know as Saint Valentine’s Day, was established by the Pope in 496 AD, and continues to be celebrated every year in honour of the Christian martyr.

But where does the love and romance part come in? Valentine lived during the reign of Claudius II (268 – 270 AD). At this time, the Roman Emperor had banned marriages among young men because he believed that unmarried men made better soldiers. According to legend, Valentine defied the Emperor’s orders and secretly performed weddings for couples, which led to the saint being sent to jail.

One commonly repeated story is that while he was imprisoned, Valentine’s prayers healed the blindness of the jailer’s daughter, with whom the saint is also rumoured to have fallen in love. The legend continues that on the day he was to be executed, a love letter was left to the daughter signed “from your Valentine”.

St Valentine’s feast day linked to the tradition of ‘courtly love’

Despite the Feast of St. Valentine being first established at the end of the 5th century AD, there is actually no record of a Valentine’s Day before a poem written by English poet Geoffrey Chaucer in 1382. The poem was written to honour the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia.

It linked the St Valentine’s feast day to the tradition of ‘courtly love’. This was the obligatory ritual played out at the English and French royal courts by a Gentleman to woo his Lady “… when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.” It was an association which had not previously existed, but the idea that a “sweetheart is chosen on St. Valentine’s Day,” was to grow in popularity from this time onwards.

Over the next two centuries, the tradition of sending cards, flowers and chocolates flourished although the first recorded ‘Valentines Day’ card is thought to be sent in 1824 and simply signed, “your Valentine.” The first commercially printed Valentine’s Day card was produced in 1913 by Hallmark, known as Hall Brothers at the time. Another legend points to the possible origin of using the heart symbol on the modern card. It is said that “St Valentine cut hearts from parchment to remind men of their vows and God’s love” before giving them to soldiers and persecuted Christians.

Valentines Day popular in East Asia

In the modern world, Valentines day is celebrated around the English-speaking world, and is especially popular in East Asia. But whereas in China, for example, the celebration is known as “Lover’s Day”, in Greek tradition Valentine’s Day was actually not associated with romantic love. The reason is that in the Eastern Orthodox church, it is Saint Hyacinth of Caesarea who “protects people who are in love”, and his feast day takes place on 3rd July. However, Valentine’s Day is generally celebrated throughout Greece, as in the Western tradition.

And of course, Cyprus – mythic home to the “Birth of Venus” – is always a favourite destination for couples seeking to enjoy a day dedicated to the eternal message of romantic love. And it’s why Londa – at the heart of Limassol – is every year, also at the heart of celebrating St Valentine’s message of love.

Click here to book your St Valentine Day Package at Caprice Restaurant

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