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Geoffrey Chaucer, best known for writing “The Canterbury Tales,” made the first reference to Valentine’s Day as a holiday celebrating love. In the Middle Ages, people believed that Feb. 14 was the first day of the bird mating season, a day appropriate for the young to express their love.
“As far as we know, Chaucer made the first reference to Valentine’s Day as a holiday that’s above love, as a day when lovers choose their mates,” Karnes said. “He makes the reference in one of his dream visions, the ‘Parliament of Fowls.’ There, he’s referring specifically to birds who choose their mates every year on St. Valentine’s Day.”