Feb 13 • 5M


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Anthony Esolen
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Episode details

When did young lads and lasses begin to give each other presents on February 14?  All the way back in the French courts in the high Middle Ages, it seems – and those French courts included the ones in England!  For you must remember that the descendants of the Vikings who came to England in 1066 to claim the royal throne spoke French – the French of Normandy, where the North-men, the Normans, had settled down.  Those Normans, by the way, really got around: they ruled Sicily for a while, and they’re likely responsible for a lot of blond hair and green eyes in southern Italy.  Anyway, the tradition had it that birds started to pair off on Saint Valentine’s Day, February 14, and if that sounds rather early to you, you should keep in mind that Europe was warmer in those years than it is now.  The same nice weather that made it possible for other Vikings to grow barley on the coasts of Greenland made the woods in England ring out with birds choosing mates in February.  And then, even after…

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