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how February 14 became, the day on which we celebrate and explore
love in all its many ideals, Valentines Day.
There are many
differing opinions on how Valentines Day started.
- One story
say that when the Roman Empire reigned, a festival every February
was held in honour of the God of Fertility and during this time,
young men would choose their mate. When a Emperor named Claudius
can around, he outlawed all marriages in fear that the men would
not be able to fight. Young couples still fell in love though
and still wished to marry and they took these desires to the Catholic
Bishop Valentine who, understanding love, began to secretly marry
couples. When Claudius found out, he had Valentine arrested and
ordered put to death. While waiting in jail, Valentine began exchanging
letters with the jailers daughter and soon had fallen in love
with her. The day he was to be beheaded, he wrote her one last
note and signed it: From Your Valentine.
- Another story
points to Christianity in 496 A.D outlawing the pagan Lupercian
Festival and replacing it with a day in February to honour the
martyr St. Valentine.
- A third story
as to the origin of passing out cards stems from a French Count
who was captured and imprisoned in London. From his cell he wrote
his wife letters, including a passionate set of poems which he
sent to her in February.
At the turn
of the century, a new form of Valentines Day card appeared the Penny
Dreadful. Up until this point, cards were relatively expensive but
the Penny Dreadful changed all that. They were just what the name
implied, costing only one cent and completely bad. The cards were
cheaply made, the artwork was amateurish and the colouring was uneven.
On top of that the verses printed on them were not the most romantic
of prose. They were more often insults, taking swipes at old maids,
teachers and the like. Still their low cost kept them popular for
of years, Valentines Day has been a day of symbols. You can hardly
go through the day without seeing a rose (as a symbol to Venus,
the Goddess of Love), images of doves and lovebirds (who mate for
life) or hearts. The heart was thought to be the centre of all emotion.
People believed that when they gave a heart, they were truly giving
all of the love and emotion that they possibly could give.
Its past aside,
Valentines Day is the second the most popular card sending holiday
just behind Christmas with one billion a cards sent a year. When
the calendar turns to February, we start to think of love. February
has for centuries been designated the month for lovers, with the
primary celebration being on February 14, St. Valentines Day. We
send cards, flowers, and candy and our children give out Valentines
in school. Valentines Day reminds us to tell our loved ones just
how much we care about them.
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