Saint Valentine's Day



Who Was Saint Valentine ?

The History of Saint Valentine's Day

Valentine Traditions

Early Valentine Customs

Valentine Symbols:


Hearts and Arrows


Valentine’s Cards


Daisies, Violets and Bachelor Buttons

Say It With Flowers...

 Sweetheart, Sugar Pie, Honey etc.


Love Knots

Paper Hands

Valentine Lace

Saint Valentine’s Poems


St. Valentine’s day is the holiday of all the sweethearts.

It’s celebrated on February 14 all around the world. It is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other by sending Valentine’s cards, different presents, sweets, flowers, or offering confectionary.

Ever since St. Valentine died on February 14, 269 AD, people have been giving their loved ones Valentines and roses and other things to show their feelings toward them. They do that because of what Valentine did. Some people believe that when Valentine died, he left a note to the jail keeper's daughter which was signed, "Your Valentine." People have been doing that since then-- once they knew that St. Valentine had done it.

Who Was Saint Valentine?

St. Valentine was a great Christian who worked as a priest and a noble man. When St. Valentine was alive, the Roman Emperor, Claudius II, would arrest the Christians. If the Christians didn't change their religion, they would either be crucified, thrown to lions, or beheaded . One legend says that St. Valentine would visit the jail every day to taIk and to pray with the prisoners to help them to get out safely.

After a period of time, the jail keepers got suspicious and asked him a few questions. That is when they found out that St. Valentine was a Christian soo they threw him in prison where he stayed without changing his religion. Finally he was beheaded on February 14, 269 A.D. After St Valentine's death, a church was named after him, which was a hiding place under his grave for Christians, and a public city gate, Porta Valetini (now called Porta del Popolo), was also named after him.

II. The History of Saint Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day started in the time of the Roman Empire. In ancient Rome, February 14th was a holiday to honour 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.

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. 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.

Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II Rome was involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns. Claudius the Cruel was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed that the reason was that roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. As a result, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. The good Saint Valentine was a priest at Rome in the days of Claudius II. He and Saint Marius aided the Christian martyrs and secretly married couples, and for this kind deed Saint Valentine was apprehended and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. He suffered martyrdom on the 14th day of February, about the year 270. At that time it was the custom in Rome, a very ancient custom, indeed, to celebrate in the month of February the Lupercalia, feasts in honour of a heathen god. On these occasions, amidst a variety of pagan ceremonies, the names of young women were placed in a box, from which they were drawn by the men as chance directed.

The pastors of the early Christian Church in Rome endeavoured to do away with the pagan element in these feasts by substituting the names of saints for those of maidens. And as the Lupercalia began about the middle of February, the pastors appear to have chosen Saint Valentine's Day for the celebration of this new feaSt. So it seems that the custom of young men choosing maidens for valentines, or saints as patrons for the coming year, arose in this way.

III. Valentine Traditions

1. Hundreds of years ago in England, many children dressed up as adults on Valentine's Day. They went singing from home to home. One verse they sang was: Good morning to you, valentine; Curl your locks as I do mine. Two before and three behind. Good morning to you, valentine. 

2. In Wales wooden love spoons were carved and given as gifts on February 14th. Hearts, keys and keyholes were favourite decorations on the spoons. The decoration meant, "You unlock my heart!"

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. A love seat is a wide chair. It was first made to seat one woman and her wide dress. Later, the love seat or courting seat had two sections, often in an S-shape. In this way, a couple could sit together – but not too closely!

7. Think of five or six names of boys or girls you might marry, As you twist the stem of an apple, recite the names until the stem comes off. You will marry the person whose name you were saying when the stem fell off.

8. Pick a dandelion that has gone to seed. Take a deep breath and blow the seeds into the wind. Count the seeds that remain on the stem. That is the number of children you will have.

9. If you cut an apple in half and count how many seeds are inside, you will also know how many children you will have.

IV. Early Valentine Customs

People in England probably celebrated Valentine's Day as early as the 1400's. Some historians trace the custom of sending verses on Valentine's Day to a Frenchman named Charles, Duke of Orleans. Charles was captured by the English during the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. He was taken to England and put in prison. On Valentine's Day, he sent his wife a rhymed love letter from his cell in the Tower of London.

Many Valentine's Day customs involved ways that single women could learn who their future husbands would be. Englishwomen of the 1700's wrote men's names on scraps of paper, rolled each in a little piece of clay, and dropped them all into water. The first paper that rose to the surface supposedly had the name of a woman's true love.

Also in the 1700's, unmarried women pinned five bay leaves to their pillows on the eve of Valentine's Day. They pinned one leaf to the center of the pillow and one to each corner. If the charm worked, they saw their future husbands in their dreams.

In Derbyshire, a county in central England, young women circled the church 3 or 12 times at midnight and repeated such verses as:

I sow hempseed. Hempseed I sow. He that loves me best, Come after me now.

Their true loves then supposedly appeared.

One of the oldest customs was the practice of writing women's names on slips of paper and drawing them from a jar. The woman whose name was drawn by a man became his valentine, and he paid special attention to her. Many men gave gifts to their valentines. In some areas, a young man gave his valentine a pair of gloves. Wealthy men gave fancy balls to honor their valentines.

One description of Valentine's Day during the 1700's tells how groups of friends met to draw names. For several days, each man wore his valentine's name on his sleeve. The saying wearing his heart on his sleeve probably came from this practice.

The custom of sending romantic messages gradually replaced that of giving gifts. In the 1700's and 1800's, many stores sold handbooks called valentine writers. These books included verses to copy and various suggestions about writing valentines.

Commercial valentines were first made in the early 1800's. Many of them were blank inside, with space for the sender to write a message. The British artist Kate Greenaway became famous for her valentines in the late 1800's. Many of her cards featured charming pictures of happy children and lovely gardens.

Esther A. Howland, of Worcester, Massachusetts, became one of the first U.S. manufacturers of valentines. In 1847, after seeing a British valentine, she decided to make some of her own. She made samples and took orders from stores. Then she hired a staff of young women and set up an assembly line to produce the cards. One woman glued on paper flowers, another added lace, and another painted leaves. Howland soon expanded her business into a $100,000-a-year enterprise.

Many valentines of the 1800's were hand painted. Some featured a fat cupid or showed arrows piercing a heart. Many cards had satin, ribbon, or lace trim. Others were decorated with dried flowers, feathers, imitation jewels, mother-of-pearl, sea shells, or tassels. Some cards cost as much as $10.

From the mid-1800's to the early 1900's, many people sent comic valentines called penny dreadfuls. These cards sold for a penny and featured such insulting verses as:

'Tis all in vain your simpering looks, You never can incline, With all your bustles, stays, and curls, To find a valentine.

Many penny dreadfuls and other old valentines have become collectors' items.

Valentine, Saint, is the name associated with two martyrs of the early Christian church. Little is known about them. The Roman history of martyrs lists two Saint Valentines as having been martyred on February 14 by being beheaded. One supposedly died in Rome and the other at Interamna, now Terni, 60 miles (97 kilometers) from Rome. Scholars have had great difficulty in finding historical fact among the Saint Valentine legends.

The Saint Valentine who died in Rome seems to have been a priest who suffered death during the persecution of Claudius the Goth about A.D. 269. A basilica was built in his honor in Rome in A.D. 350, and a catacomb containing his remains was found on this location.

Another history of martyrs mentions a Saint Valentine who was bishop of Interamna and who may have been martyred in Rome. By being remembered both in Rome and in Interamna, he may have come to be considered as two people, but this is not entirely certain.

The custom of exchanging valentines on February 14 can be traced to the English poet, Geoffrey Chaucer. He mentioned that birds began to pair off on that day."

V. Valentine Symbols

5.1. Cupid

Cupid is the Roman God of Love and the most popular symbol for Valentne's Day. Originally he was shown as a young man with a bow and arrows. But over the years, Cupid went from a handsome man to a pudgey baby? The reason is that the Romans had Cupid as the son of Venus (Goddess of Love and Beauty) and a symbol for passion, playful and tender love. 

His arrows were invisible and his victims (which could also include other Gods btw as well as humans) would not be aware that they were shot until they fell in love. But, the Victorian era want to help make Valentine's Day more proper for women and children. So they tossed out this handsome Roman Adonis guy and made cupid more of a chubby baby. In other words, it's all on how you want to spin the story from PG-rated to R-Rated!

5.2 Hearts and Arrows

A heart (red or pink) with an arrow piercing through it is the most common shape and look for a Valentines, and even candles, candies, cookies, cakes, figurines, stuffed images, etc. The heart is a symbol both of love and also vulnerability.

When you send someone a Valentine, you take a risk of being rejected and your feelings hurt. So a piercing arrow is a symbol of death and the vulnerability of love. On the other hand, the heart and arrow also symbolize the merging of the male and female as one. In the 12th century, physicians believed that the heart was the seat of love and affection in the human body. But the actual biologicial shape of the human heart does not look like the heart as we see it today. Why? Well, some people are guessing (and it is funny!) that the Valentine heart-shape as we know

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