Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination. ~Voltaire
I think it’s safe to say that most people love to be in love. And, Valentine’s Day is all about Love. I know what you’re thinking, why do we have to have one day to show it, we should do it every day, right? Yes we should. But one of life’s sweet pleasures is celebrating it on February 14th.
How did Valentine’s Day come about? Surely, it was made up by Hallmark to sell more cards. Or, possibly, a florist thinking it was a great opportunity to sell lots of red roses. Actually, there are a few legends regarding St. Valentine, whom the day is named for.
One legend has it that Claudius II, a Roman Emperor was involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns and was having a hard time getting soldiers to join the military. He thought it was because men didn’t want to leave their wives or girlfriends. So, he cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome.
Saint Valentine, a priest in Rome at that time, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. After St. Valentine was imprisoned and sentenced to beheading for these crimes, he fell in love with a girl who often visited him. Right before his execution on February 14, it is said he wrote her a letter, which he signed “From your Valentine”.
Over the centuries, the holiday evolved, and 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 most common tradition of Valentine’s Day, though, is the gift of flowers. This practice probably dates to the early 1700s when Charles II of Sweden brought the Persian poetical art called "the language of flowers" to Europe. Which gave meaning to each flower. This allowed secrets to be exchanged with a lily or lilac, and entire conversations to take place in a bouquet of flowers. The more popular the flower, the more traditions and meanings have been associated with it.
The rose, representing love, is probably the only flower with a meaning that is universally understood. The red rose remains the most popular flower bought by men (and women) in the United States for their sweethearts. However, in more recent years, people have sent their sweethearts their favorite flowers, rather than automatically opting for roses.
Also making the list of valentine favorites are tulips, lilies, daisies and carnations. Whatever your choice of flowers to give, they will most always convey your love.
However you choose to celebrate.... start planning it now. February 14th will be here before you know it!