History On St.Valentine…
Valentine’s Day started in the time of the Roman Empire -February 14th was a holiday to honour Juno the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia. Lupercalia was a very ancient, possibly pre-roman pastoral festival, observed on February 13 through 15 to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility. Lupercalia subsumed Februa, an earlier-origin spring cleansing ritual held on the same date, which gives the month of February its name.
The lives of young boys and girls were strictly separate. However, one of the customs of the young people was name drawing. On the eve of the festival of Lupercalia the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. This is coming together now- right? Each young man would draw a girl’s name from the jar and would then be partners for the duration of the festival with the girl whom he chose. Sometimes the pairing of the children lasted an entire year, and often, they would fall in love and would later marry. OK-that’s one version.
There are varying opinions as to the origin of Valentine’s Day. Some experts state that it originated from St. Valentine, a Roman who was martyred for refusing to give up Christianity. He died on February 14, 269 A.D., the same day that had been devoted to love lotteries.
Legend also says that St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it “From Your Valentine”. Other aspects of the story say that Saint Valentine served as a priest at the temple during the reign of Emperor Claudius. Claudius then had Valentine jailed for defying him. In 496 A.D. Pope Gelasius set aside February 14 to honour St. Valentine.
Whoever he was, Valentine really existed because archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Saint Valentine. In 496 AD Pope Gelasius marked February 14th as a celebration in honor of his martyrdom.
Now fast forward to the 1800’s in United States, Miss Esther Howland from Worcester, Massachusetts is given credit for sending the first valentine cards.
She was a pioneer in the American valentine manufacturing industry. It was after her college graduation in 1847, that she received her first English valentine. Fascinated with the idea of making similar valentines, she imported the necessary paper lace and floral decorations from England. She began taking orders for valentines, and was surprised to discover a demand for more than she could make by herself. She then recruited friends to assist her- sounds a lot like how a lot of us roll today! The assembly line operation that began in her home eventually led to a thriving business grossing $100,000 annually. She retired in 1881. Go Esther!
Valentines are now everywhere. My mother in law lived in a picturesque little town called Loveland. It is nestled in the beauty of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. It’s known as the “Sweetheart City”, and for good reason.
For the last 62 years, Loveland has helped Cupid by offering a Valentine’s Day Re-Mailing program to give Valentine’s Day cards an extra bit of love. It does a large post office business around February 14. You send all your cards in a large envelope and they restamp them with this special mark.
The spirit of good continues as valentines are sent out with sentimental verses and children exchanging valentine cards at school. February 14 has become the date for sharing friendship and love messages. Here are the kids with this years valentines.
It is a date marked by sending poems and simple gifts, such as flowers, to loved ones and secret loves….enjoy the day. Flowers dominate the lovers list for most requested gift that day…it’s a close one for me…I lean towards chocolate.