Did you know all this? :shrug ~Bella The story of Saint Valentine Saint Valentine is said to have lived in Rome during the third century. During this time Rome was ruled by an emperor named Claudius. Claudius was having trouble getting men to serve in his army and felt many men would not volunteer to join because they did not want to leave their wives and families. He thought that if men were not married, they would join the army, so Claudius passed a new law which did not allow any more marriages. Most people thought this law was cruel. Valentine, who was a minister, did not support the new law. Even after Emperor Claudius passed the law, Valentine kept performing marriage ceremonies secretly. One night he was caught, thrown in jail and told he would be put to death. Many young people came to visit Valentine, including the daughter of the prison guard. On the day of his death Valentine wrote a note to the daughter signed "Love from your Valentine." This was on February 14, 269 A. D. Some say this started the custom of exchanging love messages on Valentine's Day. Cupid Cupid was a mischievous, winged child, whose arrows would pierce the hearts of his victims causing them to fall deeply in love. In ancient Greece he was known as Eros, the young son of Aphrodite. To the Roman's he was Cupid, and his mother Venus. Esther Howland? Mother of the current American Valentine. Esther was a young student at The Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, Class of 1847, and a contemporary of the young poet Emily Dickinson. She was exposed to the annual Valentine festivities, which were later banned by the college for being too frivolous. After graduating at the age of nineteen, she received an elaborate English Valentine from one of her fathers' business associates, and was confident that she was capable of making similar or even better ones. She convinced her father to order lace paper and other supplies from England and New York City and, with characteristic determination, made a dozen samples, which her brother added to his inventory for his next sales trip. Secretly hoping for as much as $200 in orders, they were stunned when her brother returned with more than $5000 in advance sales - more than she could hope to make herself. Recruiting friends and creating her now-famous assembly line, her business was born. Advertising and word-of-mouth, based on a beautiful product and a wide range of prices, led to a $100,000. per year business, and assured this ingenious woman a place in history. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ancient Romans honored the goddess Juno on February 14th. Juno was the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also knew her as the Goddess of women and marriage. The following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia. In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would wear these names on their sleeves for one week. To wear your heart on your sleeve now means that it is easy for other people to know how you are feeling. Some people used to believe that if a woman saw a robin flying overhead on Valentine's Day, it meant she would marry a sailor. If she saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man and be very happy. If she saw a goldfinch, she would marry a millionaire. Some people said if you found a glove on the road on Valentine's Day, your future beloved will have the other missing glove. Valentine's Day is the second largest day for giving greeting cards. (Christmas is the largest.) More than one billion Valentine cards are sent each year! 85% of all valentines are purchased by women. Until the mid-1800's, the cost of sending mail was too expensive for the average person. Until the penny post, most valentine cards were hand delivered. During the late 1800s, postage rates around the world dropped, and the obscene St. Valentine's Day card became popular, despite the Victorian era having been otherwise very prudish. As the numbers of racy valentines grew, several countries banned the practice of exchanging Valentine's Days cards. During this period, Chicago's post office rejected more than 25,000 cards on the grounds that they were so indecent and not fit to be carried through the U.S. mail. Valentine's Day is celebrated in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia. More than 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine's Day. About 11% of pet owners give Valentine's Day gifts to their pets. 70% of those who celebrate Valentine's Day give a card; 49% call their sweethearts; 48% give a gift; 37% cook a special dinner; 33% give candy; 30% go out to dinner; and 19% give flowers. Victorians gave gifts like fans, flowers, candy, heart shaped trinket boxes, posy holders, lockets, and teacups for Valentine’s Day. The Empire State Building in New York City, which played a prominent Valentine's Day role in the movie Sleepless in Seattle, has become a popular spot for couples to take or renew their vows. Valentine's Day is one of the most popular wedding days. Amnat Puttigo of Pattaya, Thailand, won a "Ripley's Believe It or Not" by holding his wife in his arms for 10 hours 49 minutes and 15 seconds in a Valentine's Day Contest! The Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare's lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet every Valentine's Day. In the United States, 64% of men do not make plans in advance for a romantic Valentine's Day with their sweethearts. In Victorian times it was considered bad luck to sign a Valentine's Day card. 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!" It wasn't until 1537 that St. Valentine's Day was declared an official holiday. England's King Henry VIII declared February 14th a holiday. One single perfect red rose framed with baby's breath is referred to by some florists as a "signature rose," and is the preferred choice for many for giving on Valentine's Day, anniversary, or birthday. Teachers receive the most Valentine's Day cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, and then, sweethearts. Children ages 6 to 10 exchange more than 650 million Valentine's cards with teachers, classmates, and family members. The "I Love You" computer virus was detected in Hong Kong on May 1, 2000. In four days the virus had mutated into three different generations. Figures by Trend Micro Inc. showed that "I Love You" had infected 3.1 million computers worldwide. The first photograph of a U.S. President was taken on February 14, 1849 by Matthew Brady in New York City. President James Polk was the subject of the famous picture. The first televised tour of the White House aired on February 14 in 1962. First Lady Jackie Kennedy hosted the tour. The oldest known Valentines were sent in 1415 A.D. by the Duke of Orleans to his French wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. It is still on display in a museum in England. The red rose was the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. Red stands for strong feelings which is why a red rose is a flower of love. Wearing a wedding ring on the fourth finger of the left hand dates back to ancient Egypt, where it was believed that the vein of love ran from this finger directly to the heart. A ring has been included in wedding ceremonies since the 12th century. Pope Innocent the Third ordained that marriages had to take place in church and that a wedding ring should be exchanged during the service. In England, the Romans, who had taken over the country, had introduced a pagan fertility festival held every February 14. After the Romans left England, nearly a century later, the pagan ritual was abolished by Pope Gelsius who established St. Valentine's Day as a celebration of love in 496 A.D. In America, the pilgrims sent confections, such as sugar wafers, marzipan, sweetmeats and sugar plums, to their betrothed. Great value was placed on these gifts because they included what was then a rare commodity, sugar. After the late 1800's, beet sugar became widely used and more available and sweet gifts continued to be valued and enjoyed. Roses Roses symbolize both peace and war, love and forgiveness. White roses are for true love. Red roses are for passion. Yellow roses are for friendship. Black roses mean farewell. The red rose is the most popular Valentine's Day flower. 89 million roses, the majority red, will be sold and delivered within a three-day period. X" represents a kiss In Medieval times, those who could not write were allowed to sign documents with an "X". The signer placed a kiss upon the "X" to show sincerity. And so X came to represent a kiss. Lace Years ago, if a woman dropped her lace handkerchief, a man might pick it up for her. Since a woman might intentionally drop her handkerchief to encourage the right man, people began to think of romance when they thought of lace. Doves It was thought that birds chose their mate for the year on February 14. Doves mate for life and therefore have become a symbol of loyalty and love.