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Snowdrops and Flipflops
For me February conjures up so much hope and promise.February is a month of rebirth and fertility as the natural world prepares to leap out of the resting dormant cycle of Winter and into Spring. Despite the still apparent cold and the dragging on of Winter it is the beginning of new life with the first brave snowdrops pushing through the soil filling my heart for the Spring just around the corner. It will soon be time to dust off the flipflops! It is a time of Snowdrops, Flipflops, Ancient Spanking Rituals and Valentines!
The promise of romance is also in the air with Valentines. Last year in my personal avoidance of the whole thing, being a very much single lady at the time, I choose to spend the 14th in the air flying home from Thailand after visiting my silversmiths. Funny how the flights worked out more reasonable going that day.
The history of Valentines is rather somewhat interesting beginning in ancient Rome with Lupercalia, a pagan fertility festival. Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather and sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat and dog hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets. The men would take the goat or dog skin whips to spank the bottoms of women in a hope to improve their fertility, they also blessed the fields in the same way for the crops fertility.
The declaration of love and the promise of romance which has evolved into what we have today was done a little differently back then (or maybe not that differently either, spanking yes, just less sacrificial animals and blood hopefully).
Also during Lupercalia, all the young women in Rome would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. The original way of swiping right! Shuddering isn’t it!
Martyred Priests and Prisons
St Valentine of Terni was beaten, stoned, and beheaded for the crimes of marrying Christian couples. Emperor Claudius had outlawed marriage for young men forcing them to be single while they served in the Legions of the Roman Empire which Valentine defied.
Thanks to the marital angle of his story, Valentine became the patron saint of love, and marriages (and also randomly of plague, epilepsy, and beekeepers).
Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. By the Middle Ages Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.
Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 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.
Today there are estimated to be 1 billion Valentines cards sent each year and the date is celebrated in many countries across the globe with a few exceptions such as Saudi Arabia and Malaysia where Valentine’s is banned as deemed a Christian festival and inappropriate for Muslims to celebrate.
But regardless of religion or culture a single marked day to celebrate the love you have with someone else isn’t really necessary. Little gestures, gifts and cuteness is rather lovely when made as a surprise any time of the year. But if you do want to lavish your loved one with gifts for the same price as a luxury box of chocolates we have some fantastic paintings such as
or how about Entwined http://lunatreejewellery.co.uk/product/el018-elephant-painting-entwined/
Gorgeous gifts you and your loved one can treasure forever rather than forever on your waistline and even our flower inspired jewellery won’t wither and die like a bunch of the real thing.
and for the traditionalists out there we have hearts galore! http://lunatreejewellery.co.uk/product-category/shop-by-range/hearts/
However you celebrate the day of love I hope you have a good one.
Big love to you all and thanks for reading