Saturday, February 7, 2009

oh, the month of love.

So, here we are. February. The month of love. There are varying opinions as to the origin of Valentine's Day. Some experts state that it originated from St. Valentine, a Roman who was martyred for refusing to give up Christianity. He died on February 14, 269 A.D.

Legend also says that St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer's daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it "From Your Valentine". Other aspects of the story say that Saint Valentine served as a priest at the temple during the reign of Emperor Claudius. Claudius then had Valentine jailed for defying him. In 496 A.D. Pope Gelasius set aside February 14 to honour St. Valentine.
Gradually, February 14 became the date for exchanging love messages and St. Valentine became the patron saint of lovers. Today, the date is marked by "Sweetheart Candies", Boxed Chocolates, expensive dinners out, or lonely nights in.

Many traditions have formed over the years. Here are some examples:

--In Wales wooden love spoons were carved and given as gifts on February 14th. Hearts, keys and keyholes were favorite decorations on the spoons. The decoration meant, "You unlock my heart!"
--You would think of five or six names of boys or girls you might marry, as you twist the stem of an apple, recite the names until the stem comes off. You will marry the person whose name you were saying when the stem fell off.

--Pick a dandelion that has gone to seed. Take a deep breath and blow the seeds into the wind. Count the seeds that remain on the stem. That is the number of children you will have.

--Or the traditional, "he loves me, he loves me not" from picking off flower pedals, one by one.

Although it is a really fun tradition, I think it has its down sides as well. I couldn't tell you the last time I had a "real" Valentine's Day with my boyfriend. We have been dating for 6 years, and still have not been able to celebrate it. I guess it goes to show that we don't need a date to prove our love for each other, we have Valentine's Day, everyday :).

Well, Happy February!

Flower: Flickr Image: northern star- "he loves me/he loves me not. "