Friday, February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine's Day

Bleubeard and I are back with the latest entry for Art Journal Journey.  Our theme this month is Hearts.  Because Try it on Tuesday's theme is Share the Love, we'll be joining them, too.

Today is the big day. It is the day for lovers, young and old.  It is the day to honor your spouse, your sweetheart, your partner.

This day we now consider one of love and caring, may have started as a brutal pagan festival.  Historians believe Valentine's Day actually began in Ancient Rome as a pagan fertility festival.  According to, the day was celebrated with activities that included sacrificing animals and whipping women with animal skins until they bled, signifying their fertility.  Legend has it that women would later put their names in an urn and be selected to be paired with a man for a year.

And I thought we were living in an uncivilized age.

The pagan festival was called Lupercalia, with the celebration dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, and Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

In the 1300s, the holiday was Christianized, which meant no more animal sacrifices and bloody women.  The Roman Pope Gelasius officially declared February 14 "St. Valentine's Day."  The day then became associated with love because many believed that birds started their mating season on February 14.

The oldest record of a valentine being sent, according to, was a poem written by a French medieval duke named Charles to his wife in 1415. Charles penned this while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.  He was just 21 years old. One of the lines in the poem? "I am already sick of love, My very gentle Valentine."  I'm not sure that would do it for me.

People started exchanging cards and handwritten letters to both lovers and friends during the 17th century, but it was in the 1840s that the first Valentine's Day cards were mass-produced in the U.S., sold by Esther A. Howland.  According to Wikipedia she:
was an artist and businesswoman who was responsible for popularizing Valentine's Day greeting cards in America.
According to a finance report put out by Yahoo Finance, about 55% of Americans celebrate Valentine's Day and spend over $19 billion dollars, with nearly $2 billion going on candy alone.  On average, men spend 20% more per year than women.  According to Yahoo poll, taken in January, men planned to spend an average of $73.18, and women said $60.69.

Valentine's Day is the second largest day for sending greeting cards, with Christmas being first.  Teachers receive the most Valentine's Day cards annually, followed by children, mothers, and wives. Needless to say, we've come a long way from 1913, which was when Hallmark Cards produced their first Valentine's card!

We in the states aren't the only people to send Valentines.  For example, according to Culture Magazine, Valentine's Day is for adults only in Germany.  Couples tend to give each other pig figurines, pictures, and chocolate pigs. While chocolate is Americans’ dessert of choice on Valentine’s Day, it appears Germans nibble on heart-shaped ginger cookies with romantic messages written in icing.

In South Korea, women give chocolate to the men in their lives.  Valentine’s Day is getting more popular in China, but the Qixi Festival is often called “Chinese Valentine’s Day” which is in August.  According to Culture Magazine, in Japan:
Women give the chocolate on Valentine’s Day in Japan too. There are a few more nuances though. Coworkers and classmates expect “obligation chocolate” (giri choco), but women save “true feeling” chocolate (honmei choco), which is more expensive and often homemade, for their sweethearts. 
Unlike the United States, Italy celebrates Valentine’s Day as a lovers-only holiday, giving small boxes of chocolates that contain a romantic message written inside the foil.

Instead of red roses, snowdrops are a popular flower choice on Valentine’s Day in Denmark.  Also according to Culture Magazine, Paris is a popular destination for couples on Valentine’s Day.  Further:
Couples used to attach a padlock on the Pont des Arts “love lock bridge” and throw the key in the River Seine. The locks were removed in 2015, with the bridge railings replaced with ones hard to attach a lock to, but lovers still attach locks to other bridges around Paris.
February 14 isn’t just for couples in Mexico, where it is known as the Day of Love and Friendship.  Balloons, flowers, stuffed animals, and cards are often given to friends and loved ones.

Single people don’t need to feel lonely in Finland and Estonia, where Valentine’s Day is known called “Friend’s Day.” Cards and gifts express that a person values the friendship, but romantic love has a place too. In Estonia, riding a “love bus” gives single people a chance to find romance, also according to Culture Magazine.

Instead of roses, Peruvians typically exchange orchids, which are native to Peru, on Valentine’s Day. 

The first heart shaped box of candy was created in 1861 by Richard Cadbury, son of Cadbury founder John Cadbury, who started packaging chocolates in fancy boxes to increase sales.  According to
With a new technique recently established at the company to create more varieties of chocolate, Cadbury pounced on the opportunity to sell the chocolates as part of the beloved holiday. 

Conversation hearts got their start as medical lozenges, but it wasn't until 1866 that the first printed messages appeared on conversation hearts.  Nearly eight billion conversation hearts are sold every year.
For this page, which started with a sheet of 110 lb card stock, I created a stencil the size of the heart.   I outlined the heart while the stencil was taped in place.   I then stamped two different stamps in red ink, but I was nearly out of the ink, as you can probably tell.  I used my date stamp around the perimeter to act as a frame.  I then added computer generated text printed on 90 lb red specialty paper.

Thanks beyond belief for stopping by today.  Your visit means the world to me.  I also hope to see you at Art Journal Journey and Try it on Tuesday.  Finally, I would like to wish each of you, my dear friends, readers, followers, and lurkers a joyous and loving Valentine's Day.

24 thoughtful remarks:

Valerie-Jael said...

Fun page and lots of facts about Valentine's day. Gingerbread hearts with messages are sold at every fair all year round in Germany, but I have never seen chocolate pigs on offer here. Love needs to be celebrated every day! Have a great one, hugs, Valerie

Laurie said...

Oh my gosh, I never knew this about Valentine’s Day! I’m sure glad the shipping and animal sacrifice is no longer practised ( at least I hope ) , have a wonderful , loving day! I send my love , thanking you for being such a dear friend,

Meggymay said...

First of all I love the page you created, lots of interesting detail in the background and super sentiments for this special day. More love for each other should happen each day of the year.
It must have taken you ages to research all the facts you shared with us, it was a good post to read. It is sad that these days it is so commercial with the shops selling goods they think we want to buy for our loved ones.
Have a super day
Yvonne xx

junemac2 said...

Hi sweetie, fabulous post.I am back will explain in my next post why i have been missing. But will be back to T day soon too. Love to you this V day xxxx

Sami said...

I had no idea about the brutal origins of Valentine's Day. Glad so much has changed.
Hopefully love is shown year round and not just on Valentine's day.
Nice page and info Elizabeth.
Have a great day and weekend :)

R's Rue said...

Happy Valentines Day.

Barbara said...

Thank you for the history, Elizabeth. So interesting, and I wonder why pigs became a desirable symbol of Valentines Day in Germany! I read that conversation hearts no longer exist! Necco made them and apparently the company went bankrupt. Your page is great, so many 14s, no excuse for ever forgetting the date!

CJ Kennedy said...

Oops, pressed enter too quickly. Happy 😻 Day!

Let's Art Journal said...

Beautiful page! I love the Valentine's stamps and the colours look amazing 😁. Thanks so much for joining in the fun at Try it on Tuesday! I hope you're having a lovely week and wishing you a happy weekend! Hugs, Jo x

Nancy said...

You did your homework on Valentine's Day! So many interesting facts- thanks for sharing. Conversation hearts originally meds- very interesting. And the $ spent-wow. Happy Valentine's Day to you!

CJ Kennedy said...

Such fun facts about Valentine's Day. And for Barbara, a pig is a lucky symbol in Germany.

Divers and Sundry said...

Such a font of interesting information! Happy Valentine's Day!

Anne (cornucopia) said...

Lovely artwork Elizabeth. Happy Valentine's Day!

da tabbies o trout towne said...

happee heartz day oh lovez two everee one ♥♥♥ frum all oh uz in TT !!

Jeanie said...

This is a wonderful post, Elizabeth! I learned so much. And of course the artwork is perfect for the day! Happy Valentine's Day to you!

Elkes Lebensglück said...

beautiful post with heart!!!
Happy weekend, Elke

My name is Erika. said...

I like how the 14 stamp works inside the heart. I like the not bright and bold images too. It makes the heart stand out and gives it some fantastic texture. It is a super page for both AJJ and TIOt. Thanks for sharing. Interesting history of this holiday. I am glad I don't live in Roman times for sure. Hope yours was happy. Hugs-Erika

Mrs.B said...

A fabulous post Elizabeth, such interesting facts about the origins of Valentines Day, I'm so pleased I wasn't born in pagan Rome!!
This is a wonderful page, I like the muted reds (thought it was deliberate) as it makes the heart image more prominent.
Thanks for sharing with us at Try it on Tuesday,
Avril xx

RO said...

Wow! You know I love my trivia, so I absolutely enjoyed gaining all this new knowledge about Valentine's Day. Thanks so very much! Hugs, RO

nwilliams6 said...

Love all the dates on your page and the fun details. Also thanks for sharing all the trivia too. Your posts are always so fun!

Cindy McMath said...

I like the way you repeated stamping your 14th stamp to cover the heart. Lovely!

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