Saturday, February 9, 2013


How do I Love Thee

by Micki Peluso

February 14th sometimes signifies the first day of Lent, depending upon the date of Easter, and is also Admission Day in Arizona. Most people however, celebrate the day by sending comic or heartfelt Valentines to family, friends and lovers. People seem to delight in St. Valentine’s Day, as florists, candy stores, boutiques and card shops do a rallying business providing heart-shaped novelties of all variety. Chocolate, long known for having properties that produce a euphoric feeling similar to the bittersweet emotion of love, seems an appropriate gift for St. Valentine’s Day.
The origin of the holiday is uncertain, but St. Valentine actually honors two Saints of the same name. One was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of the Emperor Claudius, the other, a martyred Bishop of Interramna. They were both buried in the Flaminian Way, which was later named the Gate of St. Valentine. Today the gate is known as Porta Del Popolo — the Gate of the People. The accounts of these men's lives are legendary, based on sparse historical fact. It is possible, researchers agree, that the legends denote different versions of the martyrdom of only one person. St. Valentine’s Day, as it is known today, is a lovers Festival, bearing no relation to these legends.
One theory as to how the name Valentine came to be applied to the day is founded on the belief in England that birds begin dating on February 14. Chaucer, in his “Parliament of Foules," says it like this: “for this was Seynt Valentyne’s day. When every [M1] foul cometh to choose his mate." Those disagreeing with this claimed that the connection between lovers and St. Valentine stems from a similarity between the Norman word “galantin," meaning a lover of woman, and the name of the saint. St. Still another theory contends that the lover’s custom dates back to the pagan Roman feast of Lupercalia occurring in mid-February young Roman men and women placed their names in a love urn from which their names were drawn at random. During the upcoming year, the young man would be the escorts of the women whose names were matched to their own.
The Christian clergy objected to this pagan custom and substituted the names of saints. Each person, the clergy hoped, which strive to emulate the saint drawn for them. The drawings were held on February 14, the feast of St. Valentine. Yet the drawing of names by young people on St. Valentine's Day continued long after the Christianization of pagan rites had been abandoned. The boy and girl paired by the drawing adopted the practice of giving presents to each other. Later the boy only gave to the girl; so started the custom of sending Valentines to loved ones.
St. Valentine's Day was widely celebrated in William Shakespeare's time, as this quote from Hamlet illustrates:
“Good morrow, ‘tis St. Valentine's Day,
        All in the morning betime,
   And I am made at your window,
        To be your Valentine." 
Paper Valentines with inscribed sentiments date from the 16th century. The first printed Valentine, issued in 1669, was probably inspired by “A Valentine Writer”, a book of verses offering help to those not articulate enough to pen their own rhymes. In England, the introduction of Penny postage and envelopes in 1840 popularized the exchange of Valentines and ornamental lace paper Valentines were in great demand. In the U. S., crude woodcut Valentines were fashioned by Robert H. Elton and Thomas W. Strong of New York, but most people preferred the lace paper cards imported from England.
With the establishment of the Post Office, the mail became swamped with Valentines each February. Comic Valentines, as well as coarse vulgar ones, cost only one cent. In the early 1900s, the Chicago post office rejected 25,000 cards on the grounds that they were improper for mail delivery. By the 1930s Valentine cards were primarily an activity for small children, who were taught to make the cards and decorations in kindergarten.
On one particularly gruesome Valentine's Day, the streets ran red with blood and the message given was not one of love. This notorious incident was “The St. Valentines Massacre," in Chicago on February 14, 1929. Al Capone’s gang, disguised as policemen, forced seven members of the rival “Bugs Moran” gang to stand against the garage wall with their arms raised. Capone’s mobsters methodically gunned the rival gang down.
In recent years, St. Valentine's Day continues to gain popularity, as lovers and children eagerly await its arrival; perhaps because it breaks the monotony of the long winter. However, not all people recognize the holiday. One husband whose name I will not mention, chooses to totally ignore St. Valentine's Day, even when it falls three days after his wedding anniversary — but that's another story.      

To choose his mate [M1]


  1. Great post, Micki. I didn't know most of this--awesome research and thanks for sharing!

  2. Of course the end was the best part! Butch, c'mon!!! Oh, and Happy Anniversary tomorrow my sweet Micki!

  3. Thanks for this very informative blog post Micki. It was extremely interesting.

    And you know... I'm feeling sorry for any part of a couple who does ignore Valentines' Day.

    Valentine's Day isn't actually the Celebration Day of any kind of Catholic Saint as so many other Holiday's are. That's why it's never been recognized as an official Holiday anywhere in the world.
    The founder of Valentine's Day was "Hallmark". I'm not kidding you. Hallmark needed additional sales for their "love card" lines since there were too many other official holidays and compared to what they had expected the back then newly published "love cards" weren't bought as often as they had expected. Hallmark was scared to lose money on this. What was easier back then than calling a new "holiday for lovers" into life? And that's what they did.

    I do wish you a GREAT Valentine's Day, Micki! There are so many people thinking about you and loving you!!

    Sending you HUGS

  4. Very interesting. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Thanks, Peggy, this is an old post from my journalism days--I started doing all the holidays and then moved on to politics.

    Haha Deirdre, I knew you would know who the couple that doesn't celebrate it.

    Raani, well you're right on both counts. Butch refuses to celebrate because it's a hallmark Holiday-three days before our anniversary!!

    Jeanette, I'm so glad you stopped by my blog. I left a comment on one of your sites tonight but Aol was acting up and I'm not sure it took--on google I think.

    Love to you all--

  6. Hello,

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    The rules are very simple and easy to follow.

    Well done!! I think I gave it to the right person and writer!!


  7. Thanks, Raani, I saw it and at leasthis one is not so involved and I have some time to do it. Thanks for thinking of me!! and for commenting!!

    Love, Micki

  8. Interesting post, Micki. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Very interesting. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Hi My Dear Friend,

    I loved learning the history of Saint Valentine's Day. To be quite honest, I didn't know it because I don't care for this holiday. It eludes me and that is okay. So, whoever that person is who ignores valentine's day, please tell him here is another one that does exactly the same. I wake up hoping it will be over soon.

    Take care.


  11. Nice informative article Micki. It's kind of ironic that Valentines day in history signifies a death if not two. Many people suffer at the hands of love, and in a way I think engaging in a relationship is somewhat of a martyrship. We give up certain things and make concessions for others (partners). All in all it's a give and take relationship, yet some bear the weight of both partners which we all know will probably end in love lost. I also found it ironic that one of the martyrs of Valentines day was a BISHOP. Very interesting story and I'm sure depending on your philosophical outlook on life and cues in life this story might signify a lot related to valentines day, other than what it appears. Thanks for another great article.

  12. Thanks Lori, Those are some interesting thoughts. Some said the Capone massecre did not belong in the article but whatthe heck--it was a big deal at the time.

  13. Pat Garcia, I'm surprised you didn't guess that it was Butch who does not acknowledge Valentines Day 3 days after our anniversary which he no longer acknowledges either. Oh well--maybe in my bext life!!