Some Valentines Day Facts
There were several Saints named Valentine. A Roman priest who was martyred and a bishop of Terni, to name two. The bishop of Ternis day is February 14th from whom we got the date. The custom we follow today of choosing a Valentine is only mildly related to the saints of the same name. It is however a leftover of the Roman Lupercalia (observed in Roman times on February 15th) the time of the year when birds seek a mate. Called Lupercal (Latin lupus) because Lupercus, the Lycaean PAN, protected the flocks from the wolves. As often will happen, Shakespeare gets the last word. When writing about Lupercalia in A Midsummer Nights Dream, he wrote:
Good morrow, friends. Saint Valentine is past;
Source: Brewers Dictionary of Phrase & Fable, 15th edition
The rose has become a universal symbol of love, depicted by painters, dancers, poets, musicians and in theater. Shakespeare wrote about the rose: "Of all the flowers, methinks a rose is best." The rose was the symbol used in the English Wars of the Roses; The white rose for the House of York and the red rose for the House of Lancaster. Interestingly, when the two families finally stopped fighting and came together, the symbol of their peace-making was a new rose, blending white and red, the Tutor rose which became the symbol of England.
Warning: Eat only those roses that have not been treated with any sprays or pesticides. The base of the petal has a bitter taste, snip it off of each petal. Some stores sell dried rose petals for cooking.
HOME PAGE | BOOKS PAGE | GALLERY | KIDS PAGE | TEACHERS/LIBRARIANS