Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sweets and Hearts for Valentine's Day

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Sweets and Hearts for Valentine's Day on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com  #Valentines

Happy Valentine's Day! Although I don't take Valentine's Day celebrations seriously, and often joke that Valentine's Day is the ultimate "Hallmark Holiday", it's one of the best excuses to indulge in chocolate, so I'm all for it! And yeah, I might be just a bit romantic and sentimental sometimes too. 

Mostly I was just curious about how we arrived at Valentine's Day as a day for giving flowers and chocolates and cute heart-shaped cards from it's beginnings as a day to remember a Christian martyr. Because I like history, I checked into it a little bit. The history may even go further back than the Christian saints named Valentine or Valentinus (there were at least three of them, and all were martyred for their faith). A pagan Roman holiday called Lupercalia was celebrated in the middle of February, and it was a fertility festival. As you can imagine, it was deemed "un-Christian" and was outlawed; and it's entirely possible that the Church made the choice to celebrate a Christian patron saint of marriage at this time of year in an effort to "Christianize" and replace Lupercalia.

It's not easy to separate fact from legend when it comes to Saint Valentine, but he was known to have taken a stand for Christian marriage during a time when the Roman emperor forbade his soldiers to marry. A popular story says that while he was in prison, Valentine became close to his jailer's daughter - and they may have been in love - and left her a note when he was taken away to be executed. A note signed, "From your Valentine", which is a greeting we still use when we send cards on this day.

During the Middle Ages, young men and women would draw names to see who would be their Valentine, and the names would be pinned to their sleeve, giving rise to the expression, "wearing your heart on your sleeve".

Valentine greetings were popular during the Middle Ages, and the first written greetings appeared during the 1400s. The oldest known valentine is a poem that Charles, Duke of Orleans wrote to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415. It's believed that King Henry V hired a writer to compose a valentine note for Catherine of Valois some years later. The practice of sending cards and flowers to loved ones on Valentine's Day became popular in England during the 1700s. By the middle of the 18th century, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange tokens of affection. The first commercially printed card appeared courtesy of Hallmark in 1913, and these ready-made cards made it easier for people to express emotions during a time in history when that was not usually encouraged. Today, Valentine's cards are second only to Christmas cards in popularity, with more than a billion sold each year.

Sweets and Hearts for Valentine's Day on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com  #Valentines

Of course, many people like to make their own Valentine's cards, and it's a fun craft for kids. If it's not too late, you might want to try this Matisse-inspired card idea that Kennady came up with some years ago.

Matisse inspired Valentines - how-to on Homeschool Coffee Break @ http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/2013/07/virtual-refrigerator-matisse-inspired.html
Matisse Inspired Valentine by Kat, 2012

To make it, fold a piece of card stock in half, and cut wavy lines from the center fold to about half an inch from the edge. Fold the strips outward, alternating front and back. Then glue on colored paper cutouts.

See the complete instructions and the original Matisse project here: Virtual Refrigerator: Matisse-Inspired Cut Paper

The heart shape that we associate with sweethearts and Valentine's Day wasn't representative of love before the 13th or 14th century. As the ideals of courtly love became prominent in Europe, the symbolism of the heart shape became popular too. The heart was thought of as a book of memory - where God's commands could be written, and where thoughts of one's beloved could be written as well. During the 14th century, an Italian poem was accompanied by an illustration featuring hearts and a cupid throwing arrow and roses at bystanders. From that time, the lacy scalloped heart started being associated with romantic love. 

Virtual Fridge - Happy Valentine's Day @kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

And the heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and candy? Richard Cadbury (yes, Cadbury's chocolate) gave chocolates in a heart-shaped box to his sweetheart in 1868, and his company began producing the boxes with hand-decorated lids. Today more than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are sold each Valentine's Day season.

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt. ~Charles M. Schulz
Amen to that! And these aren't heart-shaped, but I made these easy chocolate covered spoons for Valentines Day a couple years ago.

Chocolate and Valentines on the Virtual Refrigerator, an art link-up hosted by Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - How to make these pretty chocolate covered spoons for your coffee or hot cocoa loving Valentine.

Melt semi-sweet chocolate chips, a cup at a time in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 30 seconds, stir; then 30 seconds more and stir again. If not completely melted and smooth, heat another 10 seconds at a time until they are. Then dip plastic spoons into the melted chocolate and use a little spatula to make sure the bowl of the spoon is filled and smoothed. Let them cool and harden on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, with the handle of the spoon resting on the edge so the chocolate doesn't run out. While the chocolate is still warm sprinkle a little candy confetti on each one. Perfect for adding a little extra chocolate love to your coffee or hot chocolate, and for gift-giving.

Chocolate and Valentines on the Virtual Refrigerator, an art link-up hosted by Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - How to make these pretty chocolate covered spoons for your coffee or hot cocoa loving Valentine. And a simple Matisse inspired Valentine card idea too!

Have you got fun plans for Valentine's Day? Leave a comment and let me know!

This post is linked up on the Theme:Valentine's Day page at Dear Homeschooler.

Visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog for all kinds of ideas for Valentine's Day from Crew members in the Valentine's Resources Round-up from February 10, 2017.

A Round Up of Valentines Day Resources {Homeschool Link UP}

Homeschool Review Crew Mainstay

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Annette said...

mm...those chocolate spoons. :)

Kelly ~ Our Everyday Harvest said...

Great summary on the history of Valentine's Day and some of the traditions of the day. I really like Matisse-Inspired projects. Thanks for sharing!

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