Thoughts and assorted philosophical musing about: Family, Friends, Fun, Hobbies, & other everyday things.
My continuing efforts to serve as a First Sergeant (Top) in the Army of God.
My latest interest is in Letterboxing.

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Love, Spring, and Marjorie the Chick

Today the first of several gifts that I had ordered for Donna arrived. It was addressed to her and it took very little prompting to get her to open it. She seems to like this candy jar full of Hershey kisses The jar is etched with hearts each of which contains a personal message just for her. She then gave me my gift, several boxes of jelled fruit candies from, Liberty Orchards, my life time favorite producer of sweets.

Some of the day was also spent refining our special weekend getaway to a surprise destination. When the kids were little we developed the habit of calling outings to surprise destinations "Mystery Rides". Today she still enjoys the elements of nostalgia and intrigue in a "Mystery Ride". Wondering about this "Lovers Holiday" lead to some quick research to gather information about it.

It seems that Valentine's day is generally believed to have originated as the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a fertility celebration commemorated annually on February 15. It is said that in 496 Pope Gelasius usurped this pagan festival by creating St. Valentine's Day a Christian feast held each February 14. Which St. Valentine this early pope intended to honor remains a mystery: according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there were at least three early Christian saints by that name and all three were said to have been martyred on February 14. Most scholars believe that the St. Valentine of the holiday was a priest who attracted the disfavor of Roman emperor Claudius II around 270. According to one legend, Claudius II had prohibited marriage for young men, claiming that bachelors made better soldiers. Valentine continued to secretly perform marriage ceremonies but was eventually apprehended by the Romans and put to death. Another legend has it that Valentine, imprisoned by Claudius, fell in love with the daughter of his jailer. Before he was executed, he allegedly sent her a letter signed "from your Valentine." Probably the most plausible story surrounding St. Valentine is one not focused on Eros (passionate love) but on agape (Christian love): he was martyred for refusing to renounce his religion. When the Catholic Church revised its liturgical calendar in 1969, removing the feast days of saints whose historical origins were questionable, St. Valentine was one of the casualties.

It was not until the 14th century that this Christian feast day became definitively associated with love. Chaucer first linked St. Valentine's Day with romance. In 1381, Chaucer composed a poem in honor of the engagement between England's Richard II and Anne of Bohemia. In "The Parliament of Fowls," the royal engagement, the mating season of birds, and St. Valentine's Day are linked.

By the 18th century, gift-giving and exchanging hand-made cards on Valentine's Day had become common in England. Hand-made valentine cards made of lace, ribbons, and featuring cupids and hearts eventually spread to the American colonies. The tradition of Valentine's cards did not become widespread in the United States until mass-production of them began in the 1850s.

Do you remember all of those cute little cheap valentine cards we exchanged as school tots? This is one practice that has not changed, kids today do the same thing. But I suspect the price has gone up.

Well it seems that spring is in the air here. Most of the snow has melted off. The snowdrops and crocus are beginning to peep out. Hopefully in a day or two the ground will be dry enough to plant my letterboxes. Today I worked on a cache which will house one new letterbox permanently in addition to one or more seasonal boxes. It is "Marjorie's Nest", named for the Atlas Quest chick mascot. I hope to get it finished tomorrow then I can post it as active.

1 comment:

Ellisa said...

gosh I loved those mystery rides.
I should start those more with my boys.

Yes, valentines are more expensive. But we made our own this year and it didn't cost me ANYTHING that we didn't already have in our house!! WOOHOO!!