Roving Reporter: Valentine's DayBy 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?"
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.
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.
Kaglic: hi Sharon~
This is a very interesting question.
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.
Valleylynn: Hi Sharon.
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:
Critterologist: My 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.
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.
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.
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.
|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|