Oh my, Valentine!

Cole Smith

 

 

Have you ever wondered about the origins of Valentine’s Day? Where did our favorite romantic holiday find its many symbols–the pink and red, the cards, the sweets, and the hearts? Is it really, as some suggest, a holiday cooked up by greeting card companies?

 

Valentine’s Day is an old holiday, with roots extending all the way back to third-century Rome and a Roman Catholic presbyter named Valentinus. Most of the facts have been lost to history, and all we really know for certain is that Valentinus was martyred and buried in a cemetery on the Via Flaminia. His alleged skull, ringed with a crown of flowers, is on display in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. It’s both creepy and Valentine’s-y, no?

 

 

Valentine's Key

 

Legend has it that on the night before he was to be martyred, Valentine sent a card to the daughter of his prison guard, for whom he’d performed a healing miracle. He signed the card “your Valentine”. Did that simple letter start the tradition of sending cards with the words “from your Valentine”? We can’t know. Some sources claim this young woman planted an almond tree on Valentine’s grave. Its pink blossoms have endured as a symbol of love and friendship.

 

Probably, the St. Valentine we remember on February 14th is a composite of two or three men named Valentine, who were all active in the church at that time. There are many unverified legends associated with this figure. One is that he performed secret weddings for active military soldiers who were forbidden to marry during times of conflict. (It’s been argued Claudius never issued such a ban.)

 

Soldiers who were keen to marry their sweethearts in a holy Christian ceremony would recognize Valentine by the amethyst Cupid ring he wore. Since Cupid was an approved symbol of love during the marriage ban, the ring was a safe secret sign. It’s probably one reason the amethyst became the February birthstone, since it’s believed by some to attract love!

 

Another legend is that Valentine also cut parchment paper hearts and presented them to soldiers and other persecuted Christians as a reminder to uphold their serious vows and to remember the greatest love from Heaven.

 

 

Oh, Valentine!

 

 

It wasn’t until Chaucer published the Parlement of Foules in the fourteenth century that St. Valentine’s Day became associated with “courtly love”, and many of the traditions we celebrate today. That’s right, writers. Chaucer and his following created a holiday. Now that’s the power of a great story!

 

Romantic courtiers started to apply themselves to Valentine’s poems. The now-cheesy “Roses are red…” line first showed up in 1590, in Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queen!

 

 

Be My Valentine!

 

It didn’t take long to match sweet words with sweet treats, and the Cadbury candy company claims credit for making the first heart-shaped box of chocolates in 1868. Mass-marketed paper valentines showed up around 1847. And so it goes, even today.

Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day or Pal-entine’s Day, I wish you all the joy, sweets, and sentiment the holiday has to offer. What’s the best valentine you’ve ever received?

*****

 

Cole Smith is a writer, teacher, and mountain biker in West Virginia. She enjoys good coffee and great stories. She shares inspiration, encouragement, and tips for creative overwhelm at www.colesmithwrites.com.

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Spirits, Angels and Halloween

Post by Doris McCraw

Doris

This may be a short post. Why? Well, it’s been a challenging year. Bad in many ways and wonderful in others. Sounds like regular life, doesn’t it? Most know I had in excess of $40,000 dollars worth of damage to my home in June. So far, thanks to gofundme I have had $1,700 to work with, along with the generosity of friends who added physical labor to get a least half of the damage personal property out of the basement. We won’t go into the lack of accountability of others like insurance, utilities, government. That is just what is. We’ve all experienced such events in our lives.

Now, I’ve had some pretty stressful days, but I also know, things do have a way of working out, or what goes around comes around. Here’s where the title comes in. As Halloween comes around, talk of spirits and angels takes center stage. This will continue through the new year. When life gets pretty yucky, it is the knowledge that things will work out that keeps you from doing injury to yourself or others. Doesn’t mean you don’t want to, but…

PAST FEAR

The other side of the coin is the wonderful things that happen. This Halloween, in fact today, my second novella is being released. Called Angel of Salvation Valley, it deals with the stuff life throws at us and the choices we make as we make life’s journey. I’m pretty happy, no proud of this story. It has angels, devils and a few other fun characters. I’m going to give away a copy of the novella to one commenter on October 21.

DISPARATE THOUGHTS

In the meantime, have a great week, month and year. Enjoy what life gives you and love and honor those who are making the journey with you. Follow your passions, for they seem to be the key to the joy we share with others.

BUY LINKS FOR ANGEL OF SALVATION VALLEY

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Product Details
“NEVER HAD A CHANCE” , second in the Agate Gulch stories, in the Prairie Rose Publications “A COWBOY CELEBRATION” anthology http://amzn.to/1GzwJhw

Product Details
HOME FOR HIS HEART the first in the Agate Gulch stories. http://amzn.to/1GJhpSu

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Photo and Poem:http://bit.ly/1dVnNwO