As I was crafting the other day I remembered hearing someone say that Valentine's Day is another holiday created by Hallmark. Gross, right!? I did some research and found the following info. at a couple of websites reviewing the history of Valentine's Day including Wikipedia (they're always right, right?). I knew they didn't create the holiday, but I was really curious about the Valentine itself (i.e. love note, letter, card). Here is what I found:
The real Valentine was a Roman Christian martyred during the third century A.D. by the Emperor Claudius II for marrying men and women when the men were at their "fighting prime," and best suited for Claudius' armies. Prior to his death, Valentine continued to minister in prison by witnessing to his prison guards. When the Emperor heard about this he was furious that Valentine was still making converts even in prison, so he sentenced Valentine to death. Just before being led out to his execution, the young Christian fell in love with and wrote a note to the jailer's daughter, signing it, "From your Valentine." The first valentine was really a Christian witness. Growing out of this story we participate in a custom of sending cards to people we love.
After St. Valentine's death, the practice of sending love notes on Feb. 14 grew in popularity. "The sending of Valentines was a fashion in nineteenth-century Great Britain, and, in 1847, Esther Howland developed a successful business in her Worcester, Massachusetts home with hand-made Valentine cards based on British models." Maybe Hallmark has capitalized on this holiday, but they were certainly were not the originator of the tradition.
So, don't be so pessimistic and share a valentine this Valentine's Day! If you want to stay away from the mega-stores and the commercialization that Hallmark brings, check out some neat handmade Valentines. I've put several up at Etsy crafted from vintage buttons and recycled papers. There are several other sites selling unique handmade Valentines this year.
_____I came across this quote recently and wondered to myself why this never seemed odd before, but it is odd, very odd!
I don't understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine's Day. When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon. ~Author Unknown____________