A Valentines Day Sampler and Home Companion

Happy Valentine’s Day!

But do you know what’s behind that?

Herewith, a sampling of history, customs, and trivia surrounding what we now call “Valentine’s Day” and celebrate on February 14.

From Wikipedia: [given] no [prior] connections whatsoever with sentimental love, appropriate lore has been embroidered in modern times to portray Valentine as a priest who refused an unattested law attributed to Roman Emperor Claudius II, allegedly ordering that young men remain single. The Emperor supposedly did this to grow his army, believing that married men did not make for good soldiers.
The priest Valentine, however, secretly performed marriage ceremonies for young men. When Claudius found out about this, he had Valentine arrested and thrown in jail. In an embellishment to The Golden Legend, on the evening before Valentine was to be executed, he wrote the first "valentine" himself, addressed to a young girl variously identified as his beloved,[22] as the jailer’s daughter whom he had befriended and healed,[23] or both.[24] It was a note that read "From your Valentine."[22]

Finally, the origins of “make love, not war.”

The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.[3]

The triumph of hope over experience.

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Buy the DVD here.

Well, that would be a distinctive choice…

The first true Valentine card was sent in 1415 by Charles, duke of Orleans, to his wife. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London at the time.

Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m stuck in the Tower—hmmm….

Valentine’s Day Love Quotes

If music be the food of love, play on.
– Shakespeare

Charm is a way of getting the answer yes without having asked any clear question.
– Albert Camus (1913-1960)

It’s not the men in my life that count — it’s the life in my men.
– Mae West (1892-1980)

Love is much nicer to be in than an automobile accident, a tight girdle, a higher tax bracket, or a holding pattern over Philadelphia.
– Judith Viorst

At the touch of Love every one becomes a poet.
– Plato

Maybe not everyone; Plato obviously couldn’t even rhyme.

Valentine’s Day Humor
My boyfriend and I met online and we’d been dating for over a year. I introduced Hans to my uncle, who was fascinated by the fact that we met over the Internet. He asked Hans what kind of line he had used to pick me up. Ever the geek, Hans replied, "Just a regular 56K modem."

Hey, sounds better than "come up and see my etchings." Whatever works.

From The Restored Church of God at

Valentine’s Day’s traditions and customs originate from two of the most sexually perverted pagan festivals of ancient history: Lupercalia and the feast day of Juno Februata.

Luperci (male priests) conducted purification rites by sacrificing goats and a dog. Clothed in loincloths made from sacrificed goats and smeared in their blood, the Luperci would run about Rome, striking women with februa, thongs made from skins of the sacrificed goats. The Luperci believed that the floggings purified women and guaranteed their fertility and ease of childbirth.

February was also sacred to Juno Februata, the goddess of febris (“fever”) of love, and of women and marriage. Billets (small pieces of paper, each of which had the name of a teen-aged girl written on it) were put into a container. Teen-aged boys would then choose one billet at random. The boy and the girl whose name was drawn would become a “couple,” joining in erotic games at feasts and parties celebrated throughout Rome. After the festival, they would remain sexual partners for the rest of the year. This custom was observed in the Roman Empire for centuries.

In A.D. 494, Pope Gelasius renamed the festival of Juno Februata as the “Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary.” In A.D. 496, powerless to get rid of [Lupercalia], Pope Gelasius changed it from February 15 to the 14th and called it St. Valentine’s Day, named after one of that church’s saints.

The church whitewashed Lupercalia even further. Instead of putting the names of girls into a box, the names of “saints” were drawn by both boys and girls. It was then each person’s duty to emulate the life of the saint whose name he or she had drawn. Though the church at Rome had banned the sexual lottery, young men still practiced a much toned-down version, sending women whom they desired handwritten romantic messages containing St. Valentine’s name.

Hmmm…I wonder what the Secret Santa program looked like before the Pope toned it down…