Sealed With A Kiss
Ever sign an ‘x’ on your email? Or use several of them in a real live letter or on an envelope (as in ‘SWAK – Sealed With A Kiss’), as we did so often for years before computers came on the scene?
Well, it is believed that the ‘x’ symbol became associated with the kiss in medieval times. This was because people who could not write their names had to sign in front of a witness with an ‘x’.
The people then kissed the ‘x’ to show they were doing this sincerely.
Serious Pecking Across The Internet
Speaking of kisses, Quillcards has romantic images like this ecard with its evocative French proverb:
We also have quirkily romantic cards, like the sketched ‘kissing couple’ at the top of this article who are paired with a quote from the actress Ingrid Bergman who starred in the classic movie Casablanca.
To Wear One’s Heart On One’s Sleeve?
Okay, it’s the Middle Ages, and everyone wants a special person to be their valentine for that special day in winter.
So they write the down on strips of paper the names of people to whom they are attracted, put the slips in a bowl – and draw names to see which of them will be their valentine.
After this, they wear the name that they have drawn pinned on to their sleeves for an entire week so that everyone can see who is special to them.
This is the origin in modern times of our expression ‘to wear your heart on your sleeve.’
Religious And Societal Connections With The Day
So how did this official day of romance come about?
Well, I have seen several versions described of where this holiday comes from.
All say that we are indebted to ancient Rome for the holiday, for it was they who celebrated the Feast of Lupercalia on February 14th in honor of Juno. Juno, the goddess of women and marriage, was also the queen of Roman gods and goddesses.
I read conflicting information after that, including one source that claimed Pope Gelasius I established the holiday in 496 AD, while another version stated that it was centuries later in 1537 that England’s King Henry VII officially declared the holiday.
As far as the religious connection goes with the holiday, Pope Paul VI deleted the holiday from the General Roman Calendar of saints.
He did this only a few decades ago – in 1969.
The Heritage Of Courtly Love
In line with King Henry VII, it is said that the holiday become associated with romantic love in the Middle Ages through Geoffrey Chaucer.
Chaucer is considered by many to be the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages, and it was through his artistic circle that the tradition of courtly love flowered at this time.
It was also at this stage that Valentine’s Day evolved into a day when lovers expressed their love for one another through flowers, candy, and sending greeting cards known as valentines.
By the 1800s, a physician would commonly advise you to eat some chocolate if you were pining for a lost love.
Picking up on this, Richard Cadbury produced the first commercial box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day in the late 1800s.
And of course, millions of heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold for Valentine’s Day these days.
Say It With Flowers
Flowers are hugely popular to give on Valentine’s Day as we all know, and almost 75% of the people who buy them are men.
Interestingly, quite a number of women send flowers on Valentine’s Day – to none other than themselves.
Prompting A Proposal
Are you interested in moving on from romance to a more permanent union with your partner? Are you hoping to marry your partner, but he or she hasn’t brought it up at present? Want to strike a playful note?
Then this image with its quotation by the English illustrator and poet Edward Lear might help with the cause:
A Fine Romance
Consider tragic love, and odds are high that William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet written in 1596 will come to mind.
No doubt this in part accounts for the fact that each year the Italian city of Verona where he set the play receives more than 1,000 valentines addressed to his fictional character Juliet.
If you enjoy the Bard and want him to be part of your declaration of ‘I love you’ this February 14th, here’s a card featuring an ardent, earnest quotation from his play Henry V.
Talk To The Animals
Hoping to strike a lighthearted stance with a love because you’re a bit shy about it all?
Then this appealing, pint-sized guinea pig might be what you are looking for:
The Rich And The Poor
Love and strong affection – where would we all be without it?
Or as an unknown author once wrote:
Without love, the rich and poor live in the same house.
Material On The Web
She Knows: Fun facts about Valentine’s Day
It Thing: 10 Interesting and Weird Facts About Valentine’s Day
The Juliet Club: Romeo and Juliet