|The History of
by Brenda Arnold
Day is a day to express your love, and to celebrate the spirit of love.
The history of Valentine's Day and its patron saint is shrouded in
mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance.
St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both
Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and
how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic
Church recognizes at least three
different saints named Valentine or
Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.
Valentine's Day started in the time of the Roman Empire. In ancient Rome, February 14th was a holiday to honor Juno. Juno was the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also knew her as the Goddess of women and marriage. The following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia.
In Great Britain, Valentine's Day began to be popularly celebrated around the seventeenth century. By the middle of the eighteenth century, it was common for friends and lovers in all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. By the end of the century, 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. In the United States, Miss Esther Howland is given credit for sending the first valentine cards. Commercial valentines were introduced in the 1800's and now the date is very commercialized. The town of Loveland, Colorado, does a large post office business around February 14. The spirit of good continues as valentines are sent out with sentimental verses and children exchange valentine cards at school.
Valentines Day Symbols: Cupid is the most famous of Valentine symbols and everybody knows that boy armed with bow and arrows, and piercing hearts . He is known as a mischievous, winged child armed with bow and arrows. The arrows signify desires and emotions of love, and Cupid aims those arrows at Gods and Humans, causing them to fall deeply in love. Cupid has always played a role in the celebrations of love and lovers. In ancient Greece he was known as Eros, the young son of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. To the Roman's he was Cupid, and his mother was Venus. It was formerly believed that the heart was the seat of all human emotions. Accordingly, the gifting of a heart signified the selfless act of giving everything to someone you love. Though the ancients were not aware that the heart was responsible for pumping blood though the circulatory system, yet they knew one thing for sure that the heart was the center of all feelings. This ancient belief has lingered on through the ages.
Valentines Day Customs: In Wales wooden love spoons were carved and given as gifts on February 14th. Hearts, keys and keyholes were favorite decorations on the spoons. The decoration meant, "You unlock my heart!"In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would wear these names on their sleeves for one week. To wear your heart on your sleeve now means that it is easy for other people to know how you are feeling. In some countries, a young woman may receive a gift of clothing from a young man. If she keeps the gift, it means she will marry him. Some people used to believe that if a woman saw a robin flying overhead on Valentine's Day, it meant she would marry a sailor. If she saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man and be very happy. If she saw a goldfinch, she would marry a millionaire.
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Valentines Day is a day to express your love, and to celebrate the spirit of love. The history of Valentine's Day and its patron saint is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.
Starts: 10/26/2013 12:00AMEnds: 2014-02-15:00.000 Duration: 23:59