Valentine's Facts of the Day  

ThumbChickStool 34F
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1/31/2006 1:13 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Valentine's Facts of the Day

10-More recent traditions involve men and women exchanging cards which contained love dedications or even marriage proposals, each highly decorative, hand-made and personally designed. This tradition commenced in the Middle Ages. The sender then as now should never sign the card as it was considered to bring bad luck. Of course it also stifles any idea of guessing who might be in love with you. The idea of the secret admirer has long charmed both men and women alike.

11-How did “X” come to mean kiss? This tradition started with the Medieval practice of allowing those who could not write to sign documents with an "X". This was done before witnesses, and the signer placed a kiss upon the "X" to show sincerity. This is how the kiss came to be synonymous with the letter "X", and how the "X" came to be commonly used at the end of letters as kiss symbols. (Some believed "X" was chosen as a variation on the cross symbol, while others believe it might have been a pledge in the name of Christ, since the "X" -- or Chi symbol -- is the twenty-second letter of the Greek alphabet and has been used in church history to represent Christ.)

12-Love divination games were very popular during the Victorian period for young lovers. There are many divination rituals and games. One of the most often used involved the potential lover writing the name of their favourite persons on a piece of paper and sealing it in clay which was then dropped into a bowl of water. The first clay to rise to the surface when opened would reveal the name of their future sweetheart or 'Valentine'. Sending a gift to the person was the next step towards revelation and happiness in love.

13-A young girl was supposed to marry, eventually, the first eligible male she met on this day. If a girl was curious and brave enough she could conjure up the appearance of her future spouse by going to the graveyard on St. Valentine's Eve at midnight. She would then sing a prescribed chant and run around the church twelve times

14-In order to dream of a future husband on this night, one European custom often followed was the placing of fresh Bay Leaves under the pillow the night before.

15-Another divination game goes as such: Pick a dandelion that has gone to seed. Take a deep breath and blow the seeds into the wind. Count the seeds that remain on the stem. That is the number of children you will have.

16-Verbal and singing valentines began to be replaced by written missives in Europe in the 15th century. The first written valentine is usually attributed to the imprisoned Charles, Duke of Orleans, in 1415. He reportedly passed the time by writing romantic verses for his wife. By the 16th century, written valentines were commonplace.

17-Early valentines were made by hand, using colored paper, watercolors and colored inks. These valentine styles, some still made today, included:
• Pinprick valentines - Made by pricking tiny
holes in paper with a pin to resemble the
look of lace
• Cutout valentines- Lace-look cards made by
folding paper several times and cutting out
a lace design with small, sharp scissors
• Acrostic valentines - Verses in which the
first letters in the lines spelled out the
beloved's name
• Rebus valentines - Verses in which small
pictures took the place of some of the words
(for example, an eye instead of
• Puzzik-circa 1840. A puzzik is a quaint sort
of homemade valentine which was a sort of
puzzle that the receiver had to solve. Not
only did she have to decipher the message
but also to figure how to refold the paper
once it was opened. The order of the verses
was usually numbered, and the recipient had
to twist the folds to determine what was
being said.
• Daguerreotype-popular from 1840 to the Civil
War. An old-time tintype was found in the
center of a card surrounded by an ornamented
wreath. Another type was a "Mirror
Valentine" which had a small mirror placed
in the center to reflect the happy face of
the receiver.

18- Increasingly beautiful handmade Valentines were often small works of art, richly decorated with silk, satin or lace, flowers or feathers and even gold leaf. And many featured Cupid, the cherubic, be-winged son of Venus, and a natural Valentine's Day "mascot."

19- Some of the more unusual valentines were created by lonely sailors during the Victorian era -- they used seashells of various sizes to create hearts, flowers and other designs or to cover heart-shaped boxes.

20-Cards decorated with black and white pictures painted by factory workers began to be created in the early 1800s; by the end of the century, valentines were being made entirely by machine. Sociologists theorize that printed cards began to take the place of letters, particularly in Great Britain, because they were an easy way for people to express their feelings in a time when direct expression of emotions was not fashionable.

21-A variety of interesting Valentine's Day traditions developed over time. For example, hundreds of years ago in England, children dressed up as adults on Valentine's Day and went singing holiday verses from door to door. In Wales, wooden love spoons, carved with key, keyhole and heart designs, were given as gifts.

22- Ribbons and frills have been associated with romance since the days of knighthood when a knight rode into battle with a ribbon or scarf given him by his lady fair. The dictionary states that the word "Lace" comes from a Latin word meaning to "snare" or "noose".

23- The gift of flowers on Valentine's Day probably dates to the early 1700s when Charles II of Sweden brought the Persian poetical art called "the language of flowers" to Europe. Throughout the 18th century, floral lexicons were published, allowing secrets to be exchanged with a lily or lilac, and entire conversations to take place in a bouquet of flowers.

24- The red rose remains the most popular flower bought by men in the United States for their sweethearts. In more recent years, people have sent their sweethearts their favorite flowers, rather than automatically opting for roses.

25- Many different flowers are also associated with this day, given as tokens of love. A European belief in the power of the saffron coloured crocus to attract attention of a lover is best done if worn in the buttonhole. Armed with this she is more likely to meet her future intended.

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