Valentine's Day

14, 2009 - Saturday

Saint Valentineís Day

The Original Valentineís Day

Who Was St. Valentine?

Saint Valentine was a Roman bishop who preached Christianity despite persecution under the Emperor Claudius. Valentine was jailed for his beliefs. There are several stories about his imprisonment, one which involves Valentine curing the blindness of the daughter of his jailer.

Another story claims he fell in love with his jailerís daughter and wrote her a letter signed, "Your Valentine".

As little as we know about Saint Valentine himself, it was his death by beheading around the year 270 (278 is suggested) that marks February 14 as Valentine's Day.

A Roman Festival

Another possible beginning for Valentineís Day was that of the Roman festival of "Lupercalia" celebrated around February 15. It honored the god of shepherds, Pan, and the goddess of marriage and guardian of women, Juno. The festival included the men drawing the names of women to choose a partner. Later Christians attempting to suppress the paganistic beliefs encouraged boys to draw the names of saints from a box and then imitate the virtues of that saint. Becuase it was celebrated about the anniversary of Valentineís death, the drawn slips were called valentines.

Other Origins

In medieval England it was said that Valentineís Day was the day that birds chose their mates and many varied verses described this courting, such as:

The raven plumes his jetty wing
To please his croaking paramour
The larkís responsive love-tales sing
And tell their passions as they roar.

In Persia, a February celebration of a guardian angel for women had a husband obey all his wifeís commands and in Normandy the word "galatin", meaning a lover, was often pronounced "valentin", confusing the saint with the word for lover.

Valentine Traditions

In England, a young couple thrown together by the drawing of names were considered as a knight and his lady. The knight was to protect the honor of his lady and the young woman in return gave him smiles and favors.

In some places a person could challenge someone of the opposite sex upon the first meeting of the day with a wish for a pleasant Valentineís Day. The first of the couple to say the greeting was then to be rewarded by the other with a small present.

Another custom was for young ladies to write the names of all their possible valentines on a slip of paper. They would then roll each slip in clay and drop the slips into water. The first slip to float to the top revealed the name of their valentine.

By the seventeenth century, it was customary to send handmade valentines to a personís sweetheart, and by 1800 the first commercial cards were available for purchase.

Valentine Facts

Facts About The Heart

Books for Children About The Heart

Heart Links

Valentine Crafts

A Heart Pencil Topper

You will need:

From one of the squares of red felt, cut out as large a heart shape as you can. Now cut the second square of felt to the same size heart. To do this, lay your first heart on the second square of felt and cut around it.

Use a thin line of glue around the edge of the top half of one heart. Lay the second heart on top and let the glue dry thoroughly. Take two cotton balls and push each into one round portion of each half of the heart. Now glue the two sides of the heart together with the cottonballs inside, but be sure to leave an opening at the bottom point of the heart to fit a pencil in.

Glue two wiggle eyes on one side of the heart. Allow the glue to dry thoroughly.

Once the glue is dry, push the eraser end of a pencil through the hole at the heartís point. Your heart will sit on top of your pencil.

Try gluing lace around the edge, substitute pink felt for the red, or use colored glue to draw on a mouth, eyelbrows, and other facial features. Older children might like to use a needle and thread to sew the edges of their heart for a sturdier pencil topper.

Paint an Abstract Heart

You will need:

Select two colors of tempra paint out of the three colors red, white, and pink. Get a piece of construction paper in the color you did not use for your paint. In other words if you use red and pink paint, your paper should be white; if you use red and white paint, your paper should be pink. It is a good idea to work on top of some old newspapers.

To make your abstract heart hold one end of a piece of string and dip it into one color paint. Use the string as your brush, dragging, laying, and otherwise painting the paper. Now dip the second string into the second color of paint and add some more designs to the paper.

Try coiling the string on the paper, wiggling it as you drag it across, or if you have on a paint apron sling it down onto the paper (this splatters so be careful). Dip your string as often as necessary to keep it moist always dipping the same string into the same color paint.

Let the paint dry. Now cut out one or more heart shapes from the painted paper. Write a valentine message on the back, glue them onto paper doilies, or glue them onto the outside of a piece of folded paper in a contrasting color such as blue or purple. Add a valentine poem on the inside.


Books for Children

Valentine Links

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