Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day!

It's February 14th, and everyone's thoughts turn to love...and roses and chocolates.  (Where I live in SC, there is a Russell Stover outlet--oh my!!) I personally like to add a nice bottle of champagne, but I'll probably spend my lovers' night with my character in my WIP, I have eye surgery the day before.



Let's talk about this mysterious saint. The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend says that Valentine was a priest, serving in third-century Rome. The Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men contended single men made better soldiers than those with families. Consequently, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine realized the injustice of this edict and secretly continued performing marriages for young lovers. When this defiance was discovered, Valentine was put to death.According to another story, an imprisoned Valentine sent the first valentine greeting to a young girl with whom he'd fallen in love - possibly the jailor’s daughter who visited him while he was imprisoned. Before his death, he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” which we still use today.

Here are a few quotes you might enjoy on Valentine's Day:
"Love is like the wind. You can't see it, but you can feel it." - Nicholas Sparks

"Each time you love, love deeply as if it were forever." - Audre Lorde

"You always gain by giving love." - Reese Witherspoon

"Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along." - Rumi

"A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and a man cannot live without love." - Max Muller

Enjoy your day of love!

Origins of Valentine’s Day: A Pagan Festival in February

While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.

Valentine’s Day: A Day of Romance

Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity and but was outlawed—as it was deemed “un-Christian”–at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.
Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of Londonfollowing his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.

Typical Valentine’s Day Greetings


In addition to the United States, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings.
Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year (more cards are sent at Christmas). Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.

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1 comment:

Diane Burton said...

Cool. Good post, Linda. So interesting.