Valentine’s Day

Valentine Traditions–Along the Way to St. Valentines’ Day 4: Heart with Arrow

Along the way to St. Valentine’s Day…

The heart is one of the symbols most associated with Valentine’s Day.  Put the heart and Cupid together and you will find a heart with an arrow through it.  Cupid’s arrow has struck the heart with love.  This symbol signifies that a person is in love especially romantic love.

Along the way to St. Valentine’s Day 4: Heart with Arrow

 

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~ An Old Irish Blessing ~

Marian McCoy Boveri

Valentine’s Traditions–Along the Way to St. Valentine’s Day 3: Cupid

Along the way to St. Valentine’s Day…

Cupid and his bow and arrow are a favorite symbol of St. Valentine’s Day.  Cupid is a well-known figure from classical mythology whose name derived from the Latin Cupidos which means “desire”.  His bow and arrow have come to represent the source of his power.  It is said that when someone is struck by Cupid’s arrow, they are overcome with desire and fall hopelessly in love.

During the Middle Ages, under the influence of Christianity, Cupid also became associated with Heavenly and Earthly love.  Originally portrayed as a young adult, Cupid eventually evolved into the cherub we are so familiar with today.  Cupid as a playful cherub represents romantic love and many hope the object of their desire will be struck by one of his arrows especially on St. Valentine’s Day.

Along the way to St. Valentine’s Day 3: Cupid

 

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~ An Old Irish Blessing ~

Marian McCoy Boveri

Valentine Traditions–Along the Way to St. Valentine’s Day 2: Roses and Flowers

Along the way to St. Valentine’s Day…

There are at least three stories about St. Valentine which have led some to say there were three St. Valentines connected to February 14.  It is believed, however, that at least two if not all of these stories refer to one in the same St. Valentine who was martyred on February 14 in 3 A.D.   It is said that St. Valentine married Christians when it was against the law in Rome for them to wed.  This is one of the reasons St. Valentine’s Day has been linked with romantic love.

Flowers are both synonymous with weddings and St. Valentine’s Day.  Indeed flowers are believed to speak their own love language.  Roses have long been considered the queen of flowers and the one flower historically associated with true love.

  • A red rose speaks of love, romance, passion, beauty, courage, respect, and congratulations as well as a job well done.
  • A single red rose says, “I love you”.
  • Two roses intertwined together signify engagement and marriage.

 

Along the way to St. Valentine’s Day 2:
Roses and Flowers

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~ An Old Irish Blessing ~

Marian McCoy Boveri

Valentine Traditions–Along the Way to St. Valentine’s Day 1: Hearts

Along the way to St. Valentine’s Day…

St. Valentine’s Day is a tradition that dates back centuries and is believed to have originated in ancient Rome. As Christianity spread many of the long-held traditions and celebrations were incorporated into Christian holidays. St. Valentine’s Day was made an official church holiday in 496 A.D. While it is thought that there may have been more than one St. Valentine, there is one thing that can be agreed upon. It is a day of celebration centered around love and all things to do with the heart.

The heart having a long-standing connection with emotions is naturally one of the most familiar symbols associated with this day.

Along the way to St. Valentine’s Day 1: Hearts

 

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~ An Old Irish Blessing ~

Marian McCoy Boveri

Celebrate Traditions ~ St. Valentine’s Day

What a great Valentine’s Day tradition!!!  Found this at decorating-by-day.com (http://goo.gl/lia6E5).  Great for home, school, or even your office!  Spread the love with encouraging words written on hearts and posted on the door.  Start February 1st and finish on February 14th, St. Valentine’s Day.

1-14.valentine's door

Scarecrow of the Week–Valentine’s Scarecrows–Sow in Love

Sow in love

Sow in love

St. Charles Scarecrow Festival 2014

 

Celebrating Traditions–St. Valentine’s Day Cards

St. Valentine’s Day is a tradition dating back centuries.  It originates in ancient Rome where on February 13-15 a lottery was held to pick a mate in which to spend the next year with.  Two of the three saints named St. Valentine were martyred in this day in 3 A.D.–one for marrying Christians which was against Roman law at the time.  It was declared a church holiday as early as 496 A.D.  It became a common practice to pass notes on this day which evolved into picking a sweetheart for the day.  This is also the day it was believed that birds choose their mates thereby heralding the first day of spring.

The practice of sending actual St. Valentine’s Day cards originates in England circa 1400.  What is referred to as the first actual Valentine is a letter written in 1416 by Frenchman Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife during his imprisonment in the Tower of London.  This first Valentine itself is bittersweet as she died before it could reach her as the Duke was imprisoned in various English castles for nearly 25 years.  The original letter still exists and is held at the British Library in London.  Incidentally the oldest surviving Valentine written in English is also held there.  This was written by Margery Brews of Norfolk to her fiance John Paxston in 1477.

Vintage Valentine

Vintage Valentine

The practice of sending hand-written Valentine’s Day cards does indeed first appear circa 1400 in England.  Another long-standing belief is that King Henry VIII established February 14 as St. Valentines’ Day in a royal decree in 1537.  By 1601 St. Valentine’s Day has become part of England’s “popular consciousness to the extent that…William Shakespeare mentions it in Ophelia’s lament in Hamlet:

“Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s [D]ay

All in the morning betime

And I a maid at your window

To be your Valentine.” [2]

By the 17th century it became commonplace for friends and lovers from all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection like hand-made cards, chocolates, and small gifts on St. Valentine’s Day.  Some of these traditions found themselves brought to America with the colonists.  In fact their popularity grew with imported “writers” from England that were actually booklets that had various “be my Valentine” messages that one could copy onto decorative paper and send.  One popular “writer” even had responses.

Late 18th century and early 19th century Valentines were often religious in nature.  It wasn’t until 1847 that the first American mass-produced Valentine made from–what else but–English imported embossed paper and lace was produced.  They were created and sold by Esther Howland of Winchester, MA, who is commonly referred to as “The Mother of the Valentine”.

“The popularity of sending and receiving [Valentine’s] cards [in England] grew alongside the improvement in postal services and methods of printing to the point in the 1830s where postmen needed refreshments to help with the unprecedented number of cards they had to deliver.” [3]  In America the Valentine didn’t truly become a tradition until during the Civil War (1861-1865) “when [V]alentine cards often depicted sweethearts parting, or a tent with flaps that opened to reveal a soldier.” [4]

 

Vintage Valentine

Vintage Valentine

“By 1900 printed cards began to replace hand-written letters due to improvements in printing technology.  [Indeed] [r]eady-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings were discouraged.” [5]  It was in the Victorian era with advancements in printing and then the introduction of the “penny post” that sending Valentines became even more popular.  The penny postcard Valentines were most popular during 1890-1917. [4]  Sometime in the late 1800s sending Valentine’s cards fell out of fashion only to be revived sometime in the 1920s.  Contrary to what some believe–Hallmark did not create this holiday.  Hallmark’s first Valentine card was not produced until 1913.

Valentine’s Day now accounts for 25% of the cards sent each year according to the Greeting Card Association. [1]   Today 180 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged in a holiday that in 2014 reached $17 billion in spending.  [6]

 “Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”

~ An Old Irish Blessing

Marian (McCoy) Boveri

[1]  Valentine’s Day History

[2]  History of Valentine’s Day

[3]  Valentine’s Day in Britain–History and Folklore

[4]  History of the Card

[5]  The Legend of St. Valentine

[6]  Valentine’s Day Statistics

 

 

Oldest Valentine

St. Valentine’s Day–Celebrating Traditions

 

 

 

Seeds for Love

Seeds for Love

It’s St. Valentine’s Day and while certainly this day has become synonymous with love, early traditions also hail it as being associated with spring.  In Slovenia, there is a proverb that says “Saint Valentine brings the keys of roots” and it is believed that plants and flowers start to grow on this day.  During the Middle ages in England and France it was believed that this was the day that birds chose their mates.

There are actually a number of St. Valentine martyrs who are honored on this day.  According to the Catholic Encyclopedia:  “Emperor Claudius II executed two men — both named Valentine — on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D.” and it being these who are primarily remembered on this day along with a third St. Valentine from a Roman province in Africa.  What is known is that the legends particularly of the St. Valentine’s executed by Claudius II have become somewhat mixed.  It is held that the priest named Valentine was arrested for marrying and helping Christians, which would have been against Roman rule, and martyred for attempting to convert others.  The Bishop Valentine is credited with the miracle of  restoring sight to a blind girl and martyred for refusing to renounce his faith.  Essentially the type of love that was originally associated with St. Valentine was sacrificial as opposed to romantic.

Certainly, as with most modern-day holiday celebrations, there were ancient traditions that came before.  The Roman festival of  fertility, purification, and protection called Lupercalia was celebrated from February 13 through 15.  For nearly 800 years a lottery was held during the festival wherein a young man drew the name of a young woman to be linked with for the upcoming year.  Sometime in the late 5th century AD Pope Gelasius I being less than happy with this practice put forth a declaration changing the lottery to include both men and women drawing a saint’s name with which to emulate throughout the following year.  He is the one responsible for casting the day as St. Valentine’s Day.  However, the day still remained a day for men to seek out the affections of women by often sending hand-written messages.  This of course eventually evolved into the tradition of picking out a sweetheart for the day.

In 1381 Chaucer officially linked love to St. Valentine’s Day in a poem he wrote in honor of the engagement of England’s Richard II and Anne of Bohemia.  “As was the poetic tradition, Chaucer associated the occasion with a feast day. In ‘The Parliament of Fowls’, the royal engagement, the mating season of birds, and St. Valentine’s Day are linked:

For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,
When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate.”  (1)

 bird.vintage.valentine

 

Legend holds that the first real St. Valentine’s card was sent by Charles, duke of Orleans, to his wife during his imprisonment in the Tower of  London in 1415.  Another long-standing belief is that King Henry VIII established February 14 as St. Valentine’s Day in a royal decree in 1537.  It would be another century and a half “before religious devotional cards became non-religious cards to reflect the change in the holiday.” (2)

The traditional love poem “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue” makes its first appearance in 1784 in a collection of English Nursery Rhymes by Garland. (3)  It became commonplace in the 18th century to exchange hand-made cards, chocolates, and small gifts on Valentine’s Day.  While these traditions found themselves brought to America with the colonists, it wasn’t until 1847 that the first American mass-produced Valentine of embossed paper and lace was created and sold by Esther Howland of Winchester, MA, commonly referred to as “The Mother of the Valentine”.

And the rest is, as they say, history.

from www.pastispresent.org

from www.pastispresent.org

The rose is red, the violet’s blue,

The honey’s sweet, and so are you.

Thou are my love and I am thine;

I drew thee to my Valentine.

circa 1784 found in “Gammer’s Gurton Garland”

 

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.  ~ An Old Irish Blessing

(1) http://www.infoplease.com/spot/valentinesdayhistory.html

(2) http://www.coolquiz.com/trivia/explain/docs/valentine.asp

(3) http://www.tennessean.com/article/20140214/OPINION03/302140007/We-can-honor-St-Valentine-by-opening-hearts

(4) Howland picture from http://pastispresent.org/2011/good-sources/%E2%80%9Cmother-of-the-valentine%E2%80%9D-esther-howland-worcester-and-the-american-valentine-industry/