Yesterday I was faced with the question- is Valentine’s Day even a real holiday? 🙂 My immediate response was: YES!!! OF COURSE!!! I do understand that this Holiday has been blown out of proportion in the United States and has been also commercialized where a lot of people feel guilty if they do not buy flowers or card or arrange for a special dinner with their sweetheart. But I knew that there is also a REAL STORY behind the Holiday. I knew it had something to do with little Valentine”s Notes and a sad love story so I’ve searched internet and gathered some “facts” known to initiate this “love” Holiday!
The word “Valentine” has two meanings. It can imply a card sent or given to a sweetheart on Saint Valentine’s Day. It can also indicate any particular person, especially a sweetheart, chosen to receive a greeting on Saint Valentine’s Day. Both implications of the word come from a time long long ago. At a turbulent period of Roman History, when a crumbling Roman empire was facing hostilities from all sides, the country needed valiant soldiers who would be ruthless and able to lay down their lives for the cause of the motherland. Emperor Claudius II felt that marriage was becoming a serious impediment in building a strong national defense as married soldiers felt disinclined to stay away from home for a long time. He issued an edict forbidding marriage to assure quality soldiers. But a kindly priest Valentine came to the rescue of young Romans and secretly married them off. But this good time was not long to last for Claudius II soon got wind of Valentine’s actions and had him arrested. Though initially impressed by Valentine’s personality and courage, the emperor tried to force his order on him and is even said to have attempted to convert him.
When Valentine refused to obey both royal orders, the incensed emperor ordered his execution. While awaiting his sentence in prison, Valentine is believed to have restored the sight of the jailor’s daughter with his reported mystical powers. This earned him the friendship of the jailor Asterius as well as his daughter. A little time before his death, Valentine is said to have asked for a pen and paper from his jailor, and wrote a farewell message to Asterius’ daughter signing it as “From Your Valentine,” a phrase that lived ever after. The Roman Empire was soon to fall, and its end brought everything back to normalcy. The people never forgot Valentine and they created a holiday in memory of their loving priest. Along with “Valentine’s Day”, the tradition of sending personal messages also gained popularity among love birds and such handwritten notes of love came to be known as “Valentine”, a name drawn from the signature of Valentine’s last letter to Asterius’ daughter. The first modern valentines reportedly became popular from the early 15th century. Following his defeat in the battle of Agincourt, the young French Duke of Orleans was captured and confined in the Tower of London for many years. During his captivity, he wrote many poems to his wife. About sixty of these remain and have been preserved among the royal papers in the British Museum. By the 18th century, it became a common practice in England to exchange hand-made cards on Valentine’s Day. People began to create valentine cards for their sweethearts by themselves out of lace or ribbons, and featuring cupids and hearts. Gradually, the American colonies took on the tradition. But only during the 1840s that Valentine’s Day greeting cards began to be commercially produced in the U.S. The first American Valentine’s Day greeting cards were created by Esther A. Howlanda Mount Holyoke, a graduate and native of Worcester.
As you can see- “Valentine” simply is a symbol of expressing your feelings and celebrating love. It is that special day when you can show that special someone how madly in love with them you are. And it really doesn’t matter what you will do this day to express your feelings: a card, candy, flowers, whatever you choose to do, I am sure your sweetheart will appreciate it and find it cute! 🙂 I do believe that cards should be hand made and despite boring Hallmark cards- although they do have a great idea behind it, I find all of it too impersonal. They even came out with cards that have the whole message written for you now- I mean come on! Can’t you find two three sentences in your heart that truly mean something? And even if your handwriting is awful it is 100 times better then the one typed by someone who knows nothing about you or your loved one! 😉
And of course I’m thrilled when my clients ask me for help during preparation for Valentine’s Day! I did say that boudoir pictures make an awesome gift! 🙂 I had SO much fun photographing girls who decided to surprise their loved ones this year with “spicy” pictures! 🙂 One of my past Brides, Dilyara, was so awesome and let me share few images with you guys! These images are ESPECIALLY precious for both of us since for entire week we were not sure if I will be able to recover them at all! See, I had all my photoshoots and all of my pictures backed up and hers were the only pictures I was about to back up when my hard drive failed! She is sooooo gorgeous and I am sure her husband appreciate all the trouble she had to go through in order to make this photoshoot happen! :))
And now, that Valentine’s Day is over with, I am looking forward to all the Engagement Sessions and Weddings I have planned as well as Family Portraits Sessions! Such a fun year ahead! I am excited!!!!