First ~ A bit of history
Stuck in someone else's frames?
|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.
||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 honor 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 endeavored 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.
Valentine greetings were popular in the Middle Ages, when lovers spoke or sang their valentines. Written
valentines appeared after 1400. The oldest in existence was made in the 1400's and is in the British
Museum. Paper valentines were exchanged in Europe and given in place of valentine gifts. They were
especially popular in England. Early valentines were made by hand and were made with colored paper,
watercolors, and colored inks.
There were many different types of handmade valentines:
ACROSTIC VALENTINES: These had verses in which the first lines spelled out the loved one's name.
CUTOUT VALENTINES: These were made by folding the paper several times and then cutting out a
lacelike design with small, sharp, pointed scissors.
PINPRICK VALENTINES: These were made by pricking tiny holes in a paper with a pin or needle,
creating the look of lace.
THEOREM OR POONAH VALENTINES: These designs were painted through a stencil cut in oil paper,
a style that came from the Orient.
REBUS VALENTINES: Verses in which tiny pictures take the place of some of the words. (an eye would
take the place of the word "I")
PUZZLE PURSE VALENTINES:- A folded puzzle to read and refold. Among their many folds were
verses that had to be read in a certain order.
FRAKTUR VALENTINES: These had ornamental lettering in the style of illuminated manuscripts of the
In the early 1800's, valentines began to be assembles in factories. Early manufactured valentines were
black and white pictures that were painted by workers in a factory. Fancy valentines were made with real
lace and ribbons, with paper lace introduced in the mid 1800's. By the end of the 1800's valentines were
being made entirely by machine.
In the early 1900's a card company named Norcross began to manufacture valentines. Norcross eventually
became the card company we all know as Hallmark. Each year Hallmark displays its collection of rare and
antique valentines at card shops around the country. Museums and Libraries also offer antique valentine
exhibitions around St. Valentine's Day.
The first commercial valentine greeting cards produced in the U.S. were created in the 1840's by Esther
What the different symbols mean...
The heart is still a symbol
of love, and because of this, it is also a symbol of Valentine's Day
Emotions are feelings such as love, happiness, anger, or fear. A long time
ago, people believed that all the emotions were found in the heart. In later years, they thought only the
emotion of love was connected with the heart.
|| RED ROSE
The rose was the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. Red is a color that stands for
strong feelings. This iswhy the red rose is a flower of love.
Lace is a pretty fabric made by weaving together fine threads. Hundreds of years ago, women carried lace
handkerchiefs. If a woman dropped her handkerchief, a man nearby might pick it up and return it to her.
Sometimes a woman might see a man she wanted to meet. She might drop her lace handkerchief on
purpose to encourage romance. Soon people thought of romance when they thought of lace. They began
using paper lace to decorate chocolate boxes and Valentine cards.
Years ago, when a man proposed marriage to a woman, he "asked for her hand." The hand became a
symbol of marriage and love. Soon gloves also became a symbol of love.
In some countries, men and women exchange rings when they become engaged or marry. Two or three
hundred years ago, Valentine's Day was a popular day for giving an engagement ring. An engagement ring
usually had a stone or jewel set in it. Diamonds are common in today's engagement rings.
A love knot is a series of winding and interlacing loops with no beginning and no end. It is a symbol of
endless love. People made love knots from ribbon or drew them on paper. Often, a message was written
on the love knot. The message had no beginning or end. It could be repeated endlessly.
LOVEBIRDS & DOVES
Lovebirds are colorful parrots found in Africa. Most have red bills. They are called lovebirds because they
sit closely together in pairs.
Doves were thought to be favorite birds of Venus. They remain with the same mates all their lives. The
males and females both care for their babies. Because these birds are symbols of loyalty and love, they are
also symbols of Valentine's Day.
Son of Venus, goddess of love. He could cause people to fall in love by piercing them with one of his
Cupid is the most famous of Valentine symbols. He is known as a mischievous, winged child armed with
bow and arrows. He shot darts of desire into the bosoms of both gods and men 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.
One legend tells the story of Cupid and the mortal maiden Psyche. Venus was jealous of the beauty of
Psyche, and ordered Cupid to punish the mortal. But instead, Cupid fell deeply in love with her. He took
her as his wife, but as a mortal she was forbidden to look at him.
Psyche was happy until her sisters convinced her to look at Cupid. Cupid punished her by leaving and
their lovely castle and gardens vanished with him. Psyche found herself alone in an open field. As she
wandered trying to find her love, she came upon the temple of Venus. Wishing to destroy her, the goddess
of love gave Psyche a series of tasks, each harder and more dangerous then the last.
For her last task Psyche was given a little box and told to take it to the underworld. She was told to get
some of the beauty of Proserpine, the wife of Pluto, and put it in the box. During her trip she was given
tips on avoiding the dangers of the realm of the dead. She was also warned not to open the box.
Temptation overcame Psyche and she opened the box. But instead of finding beauty, she found deadly
Cupid found her lifeless on the ground. He gathered the deadly sleep from her body and put it back in the
box. Cupid forgave her, as did Venus. The gods, moved by Psyche's love for
Cupid made her a goddess.
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