Roving Reporter: Valentine's Day

By Sharon Brown (Sharon) on February 6, 2012

Valentine's Day has an interesting history but nobody seems to know when or where the love angle originated. It really doesn't matter, does it? It reminds us of Love anyway, and that's what's truly important, being reminded of Love.

I sent our Roving Reporter on a trip through cyberspace with a question: 

"What's your most memorable gift or event that ever occurred on Valentine's Day?"

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Sometimes celebrations are not happy or even fun, but children usually enjoy Valentine's Day.  I wondered how the day originated, since I knew there were several saints who were named Valentine. I wasn't sure how the name came to be associated with love. 

Horrors!!!  It didn't even start out as a happy or fun day, in fact its origins speak only of martyrdom. I guess in the back of my mind I knew this, but it wasn't something I really wanted to remember, so I pushed it out of the way along with other best forgotten debris I'd collected over the years.

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There were several saints who were called Valentine, that part is true, but there was one to whom some famous last words are attributed. Here's part of the story, and you can read more at Wikipedia if you are interested:

"St Valentine was persecuted as a Christian and interrogated by Roman Emperor Claudius II. Claudius was impressed by Valentine and had a discussion with him, attempting to get him to convert to Roman paganism in order to save his life. Valentine refused and tried to convert Claudius to Christianity instead. Because of this, he was executed. Before his execution, he is reported to have performed a miracle by healing the blind daughter of his jailer.

Appropriate lore has been embroidered in modern times to portray Valentine as a priest who refused an unattested law attributed to Roman Emperor Claudius II, allegedly ordering that young men remain single. The Emperor supposedly did this to grow his army, believing that married men did not make for good soldiers. The priest Valentine, however, secretly performed marriage ceremonies for young men. When Claudius found out about this, he had Valentine arrested and thrown in jail.

There is an additional modern embellishment to  this legend.  It's been widely repeated despite having no historical basis whatsoever. On the evening before Valentine was to be executed, he would have written the first "valentine" card himself, addressed to a young girl variously identified as his beloved, the jailer's daughter whom he had befriended and healed. It was a note that read "From your Valentine"."

 

That story is so sad it reminds me of death and dying and lost loves that we hear about in old bluegrass music and is as morbid as Elegies in Country Churchyards. I don't think we want to take that with us into our Valentine's Day this year.

Instead, I'll share with you a few comments I found along the way and before I close, I'll share some of my own.

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  Kaglichi Sharon~

This is a very interesting question.
Valentine's Day comes between my daughter's birthday, and my mother's birthday. With birthdays on either side of the day, we "kinda" skipped Valentine's day.


Ten years ago mom passed away a few days before her 79th birthday and again, Valentine's Day was in the mix. My daughter and I were still down in California, in mom's home closing it up, and it was a very emotional time.


What I do recall with great fondness during that time, is that my oldest daughter brought me a cup of coffee as the day began. My daughter can't abide the smell of coffee and for her to have started the coffee, and to have brought me a cup, was something I've not forgotten. Funny, isn't it, how the "small" things in our life are memorable.


Thanks for the chance to mention this act of love.
(This took place the day before Valentine's Day, on my daughter's birthday).


♥♥♥


LarryR:  Wilma and I used to give each other cards on Valentine's Day. Then we decided that since that day is all about love, we would celebrate that 365 days a year instead of just giving each other a card one day a year. But then we realized that the money we had spent on cards could have been spent on ice cream! So now Valentine's Day is definitely all about ice cream, although we do manage to squeeze just a little bit of love into the day as well. Smiling

 

♥♥♥

 

Valleylynn  Hi Sharon.
I have to admit that we don't make a fuss at Valentine's Day.

But I do have fond memories of bringing a bag full of signed Valentines to school when I was in Elementary School. There was one for everyone in the class. I remember saving the best ones for the special people in my life, Theresa Loya and Jimmy Howard.

I haven't thought about that in many years. : ) 

♥♥♥

 

Me too, Lynn!  Not only did we take bags of Valentines to school, but we also got to decorate a box for those we received. The rule was, if we participated, we must have a Valentine to give to each of our classmates. I think I enjoyed decorating that shoe box more than I enjoyed giving or receiving cards, though that was fun too.

And one year my schoolteacher mama took the time out of her busy schedule to make a white dress for me for Valentines Day. A white dress wasn't all that special, but she made it from an old sheet and old lace curtains and she decorated it with little red hearts of all sizes and all fabrics, placing them in clusters all over that dress. Hearts formed the pockets that had white eyelet trim, and hearts dripped from the lace collar. They danced all around the hemmed edge of that dress. I felt just like the Queen of Hearts when I wore it. I think I might have been seven or eight. I wish I still had that dress.

Here's another story about another little girl or two and Valentine's Day:


CritterologistMy mom always made a big thing of Valentine's Day for us, so I have a lot of childhood memories involving red construction paper and white doilies and glue (lots of glue). Her own mother was famous for her ability to cut out long strings of joined hearts and hand-holding cupids, but she would never divulge her technique, and Mom said it took her years of cutting paper strips to bits before she figured it out.

My 2 1/2 year old daughter is just learning to cut with scissors, so she's fascinated by fancy snipping. Just the other day I folded up a strip of paper and made a quick cut, then gave it to her to unfold. She was amazed to discover she was holding a long string of hearts! And yes, I'll teach Joyanna the secret, LOL.

In fact, I'll teach anybody who might not know, because it's easy, and it's as neat as making paper snowflakes. Fold a strip of paper back and forth, accordian-style. (If your strip is 2 inches tall, make a fold about every inch.) Starting on the edge that's all folds, cut a half-heart shape, just like you would to make a heart cut-out. But here's the trick: don't cut all the way around the shape. Leave some of the opposite folded edge intact, because that's where your hearts will be joined together when you unfold your paper.

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We also made heart-shaped cinnamon ornaments last week... And Jim surprised me with a dozen red roses once, but since they were delivered by my headmaster in front of a bunch of snickering 9th graders, it didn't have quite the romantic impact he was hoping for.

Joyanna loves hearts! Her favorite pink tutu dress has a well worn heart on the front; her new garden overalls have hearts on the bib pocket. She's grown out of two pairs of sneakers with heart designs, and her new ones also had to have hearts. Two days after she drew her first circle-ish shape, she was drawing hearts instead, on every piece of paper she could find.


So naturally, when I thought about what we could make to give friends for Valentine's Day, I thought of hearts. She'd gotten new cookie cutters (including several heart shapes, of course) for Christmas, so cinnamon dough hearts sounded like just the project for us. We mixed cinnamon (lots of cinnamon) with applesauce until it was the consistency of play-doh. I added a dollop of white glue, and then we dumped in a couple handfuls of gold glitter (because everything is better with glitter). We rolled out the dough with her great-grandma's rolling pin, sprinkling extra cinnamon around just like we do with flour when making cut-out cookies. Then, stamp! stamp! stamp! with the cutters, until we'd filled the dehydrator tray. She just beamed this afternoon as she passed out fragrant, sparkly hearts to three visiting friends.

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♥♥♥


How fun, Jill!  Joyanna is going to grow up with wonderful memories! Thanks for sharing with us.

 

When I was older and no longer exchanged Valentines in my classroom, the heart shaped boxes that contained chocolates were the best. The boxes were covered in satin and had red fabric roses attached to the top. When I was a young teen, I might get one as a gift from my parents and I'd eat every piece.  Later when they were gifts from my boyfriend, I saved those chocolates till they were discolored from age, probably mold too, and no longer edible; I suppose my mother made me toss them. But I still have two of those fancy satin boxes with roses on top, the ones that he gave me.

By the time my children came along, the design on cards had changed and were modeled after whatever toy was popular at the time. Somehow Pac-man on Valentine cards just didn't fit well in my mind. But remember the candy; the little heart shaped wafers that had words written on them? "Be Mine" and "Forever" and "Sweet" and "True Love". We'd find them laying on our desks at school, and sometimes find one that had been slipped into our pockets. I'm so glad I have good memories like that and I'm glad those candy wafers are still around.

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Maybe you have good memories, too, and would like to share them with us in the threads that follow.  And thanks so much to our guests who allowed me to publish their stories.

I wish for you the very best Valentine's Day, and even if you don't celebrate the occasion, I wish you Love. 

♥♥♥

Thanks, Jill for the photos of the heart chain and cinnamon heart ornaments!

All other images are from the Wiki link above.

Related articles:
celebrations

About Sharon Brown
I am a retired Art and Humanities teacher living in western Kentucky. I love writing and art with equal measure, but I also have a passion for nature and plants.

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
My Valentine Zanymuse Feb 8, 2012 3:49 PM 8
Oh those classroom valentines! critterologist Feb 8, 2012 3:48 PM 6
Love and Kisses, Sharon! nap Feb 8, 2012 3:45 PM 17
My only Valentine! NEILMUIR1 Feb 8, 2012 3:43 PM 4

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