Echoes of Carmel

Valentine’s in its Entirety: From History to Gift Ideas

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This month I wanted to write about one of my favorite holidays, which is Valentine’s Day. I like it mostly because I believe love is the best emotion there is. The fact that there is a holiday to celebrate that is really special even if you don’t have a significant other. To start off this article I wanted to first explain a little bit about the history of Valentine’s Day, then give some cute gift ideas for your friends and some fun facts.

THE HISTORY

In researching the origin of Valentine’s Day, there are some mixed stories about its history. I even found an article about the dark origins of the holiday, but we can save the dark stuff for later! Through my research I learned that Valentine’s Day contains history of both Christian and ancient Roman traditions. Within the Catholic church there were three different saints all named a variation of Valentine who died martyrs. It is believed one of those saints lived in third century in Rome under the Emperor Claudius II, who decided that men were better at being single soldiers and thought that wives and families would make them weaker. St. Valentine, who was a priest, saw this ruling thought it was unjust, so he defied the Emperor, conducting secret marriages for young lovers. Eventually St. Valentine’s actions were discovered and he was put to death.

There are other stories about St. Valentine’s life that are said to involve his own love interest and his story of the first “valentine” sent. It is said that before he died he wrote to his lover with the signature “From your Valentine.” In practicing this holiday it is thought to be a celebration of the life of St. Valentine or it could also be the anniversary of his death. There are also some alternative dark origins of Valentine’s Day proposed, like the idea that in ancient times between the dates February 13 to 15, Roman men would slay goats and then use the hides of the animal to attract women. Another legend is that there were two men who lived named Valentine who both were killed by Emperor Claudius II on the same day in different years of the third century A.D. Whether or not any of these stories might be true, I would like to believe that by celebrating this day today we are all coming together to celebrate the love we feel for each other just like Saint Valentine did in his life.

No traditional gifts needed! After all, origami flowers last longer.

GIFT IDEAS

Now onto the fun stuff: some simple and cute Valentine’s Day gifts for you to give to your friends! One thing that comes to mind when I think of Valentine’s Day are traditional gifts like teddy bears and those little candy heart messages. When in doubt, feel free to go with heart candy and teddy bears, which as a bonus are generally pretty inexpensive.

However, why not get creative? Another idea is you could make a little book or even a fortune teller with all the things you love about that person. If you are up for a challenge you can even try making something out of origami like tulips, which I have made before; they came out really awesome! If you are interested, here’s a link to how to make them.

VALENTINE’S DAY FUN FACTS

  1. On Valentine’s Day there are almost 36 million heart shaped boxes of chocolate sold.
  2. In the Middle Ages, superstition said that if you were single on Valentine’s Day you would end up marrying the first single person that you saw.
  3. There are almost 50 million roses given out on Valentine’s Day across the world!

I hope you were able to learn many things from this article and enjoyed it! I encourage you, even if you are single to reach out and show your friends that you love them too.

SOURCES

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Mount Carmel Academy's student newspaper
Valentine’s in its Entirety: From History to Gift Ideas