When we send funny or romantic cards to
friends on Valentine's Day, we are really celebrating two very
The first is the life of Saint Valentine,
a Roman Christian who was jailed and eventually executed for helping
other Christians. This happened on February 14, in about the year A.D.
270. It is said that while in jail, Valentine fell in love with the
jailer's blind daughter and miraculously cured her blindness. Before
his execution, he is supposed to have sent her a farewell note
(evidently, she had learned to read amazingly quickly) signed
"From Your Valentine."
Coincidentally, people believed at that
time that birds began mating on February 14. (That must have been in a
much warmer part of the world than most of the U.S. and Canada.)
The idea of lovebirds soon became
associated with Saint Valentine and the custom of sending cards or
small gifts on his feast day is centuries old. As for the heart shape
used on the cards, since ancient times, the heart has symbolized love,
both human and divine. So get out your red paper, stickers, paste, and
colored pencils. But if you look out the window on Valentine's Day,
you probably won't see any birds billing and cooing, unless you live
far south of the snow belt.
Did You Know.....?
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
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
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!"