HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
February 5, 2007, Herald Journal

Valentine’s Day sentiments


There are differing views as to the history of Valentine’s Day and how it originated.

Some people believe it started with a priest named Valentine who lived a long time ago. It was believed that he defied the emperor’s ban on marriages by secretly marrying people.

Another story tells of a man named Valentine who was sent to prison for his religious beliefs. It is said that the children of his town loved him very much and sent notes and flowers to him in prison.

In the Middle Ages it was felt that birds chose their mates on February 14.

Bill Petro on the web site www.billpetro.com/HolidaysHistory noted that it was at one time the custom in England for people to call out “Good morning, ‘tis St. Valentine’s Day,” and the individual who succeeded in saying this first expected a present from the one to whom it was said.

Margery Brews in England wrote the oldest known valentine in letter form dated 1477, and it was sent to John Paston.

St. Valentine’s Day did not come to America until 1629 with the Puritans, and about 100 years passed before the first valentine cards appeared in the United States.

Supposedly it was Esther A. Holland who produced one of the first American commercial valentines in the 1840’s, selling $5,000 worth.

As we know, the colors associated with Valentine’s Day are red, white and pink. Red symbolizes warmth and feeling and is associated with the color of the human heart. White is a symbol of purity and faith, and pink is the combination of red and white.

Valentine once meant “sweetheart” and has grown to represent “message of love.” This is what we today celebrate it as.

February 14 is a special day for telling family and friends, no matter the age, how much you care about them. It is a special day to extend appreciation to those towhom we are thankful.

Here are some fun valentine activities to do with your children that your children could also use as gifts for the special day. Spending time with your children is probably the most important and greatest gift of love you can give them.

Make a heart sachet

Items needed: old valentine cards or card stock (heavier paper), yarn or ribbon, scissors, tissue, hole punch, scented powder and white glue. Cut two identical hearts from two old valentine cards or from card stock.

Decorate the heart if you choose, and glue the sides and bottom of the hearts together with the pictures and decorations on the outside. Let the glue dry. Wrap some powder in a tissue and tuck it inside the pocket formed by the two hearts.

Punch a hole through the tops of the hearts, and string a piece of yarn or ribbon through the holes. Tie the yarn to pull the tops of the hearts together. Then tie the ends of the yarn together to form a loop to hang the heart sachet. These hearts can be used to hang in a closet to make clothes smell nice.

To create a sachet that Dad or another male might really enjoy, a little fabric envelope which holds cedar chips, may be just the right gift. Using felt or fleece, cut it into a rectangle and fold to form a pocket, leaving enough fabric at the top to create a decorative flap. Use fabric glue to seal the edges. Adorn with buttons, ribbons, fabric paints, foam pieces, etc.

Create valentine coasters

Cut out craft foam shapes (heart, circle. . .) and glue paper doilies in between them, and you have got some beautiful lacy coasters for a tea or juice party.

Craft children’s valentines

Have your child design their own Valentine’s Day cards this year. Using plain card stock, patterned paper, construction paper, buttons, foam pieces, ribbon, etc., your child can create the most personal valentine’s sentiments to give away!

Create animals and figures from paper hearts. Using construction paper, cut hearts of varying sizes and create some animals or valentine people.

The other day, my children and I made caterpillars and worms out of different sized hearts we had cut. We added antennas with pipe cleaners and faces with markers. We read The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, while our caterpillars munched on plastic play food from my children’s play kitchen (part of the story line).

Design valentine wrapping paper

Design your own valentine wrapping paper using tissue paper, paint and your fingers. Set out cups of paint and tissue paper and decorate with two finger or thumb prints joined together to form a heart!

Some of these ideas came from: www.parents.com

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!