Valentine’s Day is for Beekeepers

Did you know that Valentine’s Day has connections to beekeeping? It’s true!

Valentine’s day’s origins began in the year 496. It was then that Pope Gelasius, the bishop of Rome, proclaimed February 14 as a feast day in honor of St. Valentine. This new holiday would now take precedence over the pagan fertility festival, Lupercalia.

St. Valentine was a 3rd century Roman saint who is often associated with love and romance. While it is true that he is the patron saint of engaged couples and happy marriages, St. Valentine is also patron saint of traveling, epilepsy, and beekeeping.

St Valentine Kneeling in Supplication (David Teniers III, 1600s) – Valentine kneels to receive a rosary from the Virgin Mary

That means that it is St. Valentine’s responsibility to ensure both the protection of beekeepers and the sweetness of honey. Maybe that’s why bees have often been associated with love throughout history.

Cupid would dip his arrows in honey in order to fill a lover’s heart with sweetness. In Egyptian mythology, bees were the tears of the sun god, Ra. Bees were seen as messengers of the gods, coming to earth to pass secret messages to man.

While St. Valentine is the protector of bees, beekeepers are the protectors of their colonies. Caring for their bees requires intelligence, a kind heart, and a love for nature.

This Valentine’s day, remember that there is more to it than just romance. St. Valentine was the protector of beekeepers and and ensured the sweetness of honey.

Perhaps this Valentine’s day you can celebrate by doing something to support bees and beekeepers. Instead of a bouquet, buy some seeds, or plant some bee friendly flowers. You could also buy honey or beeswax products from a local beekeeper. Whatever you do, be sure to enjoy this day of love and bees.