Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love is Life

"Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love."

~ Tolstoy

Can you feel it? The Love!? I know I sure do and hopefully you do too :)

Every February 14, across the country, husbands are scrambling to stores in order to pick up chocolates in heart shaped boxes to give to their wives, mothers are baking and decorating treats with their children, cynics are wearing black and popping every heart shaped balloon in sight, children are running around their classrooms in sugar highs handing out valentines to their classmates,  boyfriends stealing kisses from their girlfriends while out on romantic, candlelit dinners... All in the name of Valentine's Day... 

But what is Valentine's Day? Who is this Saint Valentine and why do we celebrate this holiday in the ways that we do? The history of Valentine's Day (and its patron saint) is shrouded in mystery. We do know however that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains both Christian and ancient Roman traditions.

One legend states that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men (his would-be soldiers). Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and performed marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

According to another legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl (who may have been his jailer's daughter ) who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed "From your Valentine."

Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is still cloudy, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and romantic figure.

While some believe that Valentine's Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine's death or burial, others believe it's celebrated in February because in ancient Rome, February was the official beginning of spring and was considered a time for purification.

An estimated one billion Valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year, the first one being Christmas with 2.6 billion.

The oldest known Valentine card still in existence today was a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. The greeting, which was written in 1415, is part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England. Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.

In Great Britain, Valentine's Day began to be popularly celebrated around the seventeenth century. By the middle of the eighteenth century, it was very common for friends and lovers if various social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. By the end of the century, printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. The first commercial Valentine's Day greeting cards produced in the U.S. were created in the 1840s by Esther A. Howland. Howland, known as the Mother of the Valentine, made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as "scrap".

Like I said in the post "Gratitude is the Memory of the Heart," I am someone who believes that you should love those that are special to you everyday. There is no need to create a holiday just to give you the excuse to tell someone that you love and appreciate them and surround them with chocolates and flowers. I tell my sweetie that I love him everyday and I buy him gifts far too often than I probably should...

But, since this holiday does exist, why not celebrate it and enjoy it?

I wish you all a wonderful day full of love, whether you celebrate Valentine's Day or not :) 

Oh, and guess what everyone!? Tiny Treasures has been nominated at The Lovelies for best photography blog! What an honor, not only for me, but for all of you who contribute such breathtaking images. Please go and show your support by casting your vote. All you have to do is leave a comment or twitter the feed.

There are SO many inspiring images in Tiny Treasures, I had such a hard time selecting which ones to feature in this post (I decided to post 14 in honor of today's date). I hope in viewing the ones I selected, it inspires you to go to Tiny Treasures and check out the rest and maybe even join and post your own images. Who knows, you might be the next feature...



  1. beautiful post and i love the photos you've selected :) happy valentine's day jade!

  2. What a great Valentine's Day post! I love all those historical tidbits! I also love the images you've posted here. They are all so lovely and I'm honored that you've included one of mine! Thanks & Happy Love Day!

  3. All the pictures are so lovely! And that was so neat to read about the history of Valentine's Day. Thank you so much for featuring one of my photos!

  4. Oh MY goodness, looking up something like this was on my to do list and here is such a nicely written history on today, thank you for taking the time to compose it (like that wonderful wreath post),and WHAT?, one of pictures is included, oh what an honor!

  5. Love this post! Great photo choices!

  6. Prettiest post Ive seen today :)

  7. These pictures are all so beautiful! I love seeing how everyone interprets a word, what it means to them, and how they convey it. Definitely a lovely collection.

  8. lovely post! really fab collection too :)