Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Valentine’s Day & The Valentine Rose

The origins of Valentine’s Day stretch back to the 3rd century when Claudius II was Emperor of Rome. Believing single men made better soldiers, Claudius outlawed marriage for young men. A priest vehemently objected to Claudius’ order and began marrying young couples in secret. Father Valentine was found out and sentenced to death. While awaiting execution, his jailer’s daughter visited often and Valentine fell in love with her. Before he was executed on February 14, 270 AD, he sent her a letter and signed it, From Your Valentine. Somewhere around 460 AD, Pope Gelasius declared February 14th a day to honor Valentine, who was a saint by then.

The giving of flowers on Valentine’s Day traces back to two separate customs. The 1st is from 12th century France where random slips of paper were used to match men and women on Valentine’s Day. A man had to supply his woman with flowers every week for a year, as the match was expected to last that long. The 2nd custom dates back to the 18th century when Charles II of Sweden introduced sending floral bouquets in lieu of verbal messages. Each flower had a specific meaning, making it possible to have an entire conversation without actually speaking the words.

Roses became the popular flower to send on Valentine’s Day because of their vibrancy and hardy nature. Half of the roses sold in the United States are shipped from Columbia and Ecuador. After the roses are cut in their home land, they’re shipped here in a constantly chilled temperature, making it possible for them to arrive undamaged and ready for sale. Lore suggest the red rose became the color of choice due to the flower being the favorite of Roman goddess, Venus. It’s worth noting that the Netherlands are responsible for half the worlds’ flowers overall, and whether you gift flowers, cards, or candy, the Valentine’s Day industry earns over a billion dollars each year.

For your Valentine’s Day Reading:
Be Mine, Valentine


Quietly moving across the floor, he nudged the door open to find Jessie wearing her night clothes and sitting in a chair before the hearth, her blonde hair hanging loose down her back. She cradled a cup in her lap, caressed the rim while staring at the low-burning fire. He filled a cup and joined her.
“Can’t sleep,” he asked.
“Oh,” she startled, and arched her neck toward him. “I didn’t hear you.”
“I didn’t mean to frighten you.” He nodded toward the hearth. “May I join you?”
Her guarded gaze traveled the length of him. “Al-all right.” She shifted her attention back to the crackling wood.
He pulled a chair beside her and sat, took a long drink of the hot brew. “Are you up because you’re worried about the squatter?”
“No. The sheriff and the deputies will find him.” She kept her gaze on the flame. “They won’t allow harm to come to their wives and children.”
“Reckon you’re right about that.” He took another long swallow to settle the unease snaking through his gut. He had plenty to say to her, and hoped the words came out right.
“Why are you awake?” she asked.
“I’ve got a lot on my mind.”
“Most people do.” She leaned forward, pulled a log from a basket beside the hearth and added it to the fire. Sat back in her chair.
“Jessie,” he started, only to pause and take a deep breath. He let it out slow, prayed his gumption wouldn’t desert him. “I apologize for what I said to you earlier. You’re more than a waitress to me. You’re someone I care about very much.”
She sniffled and met his gaze. Except for the moisture clinging to her eyes, her expression was void of feeling. “So you’ve often said.” She cocked her head. “Are you willing to do something about that?”
He swallowed hard. “If you’re referring to marriage, than I’m sorry, but the answer is no. I can’t marry you.” He touched her arm. “But I can be your friend.” And love you with everything I am. “Someone you can depend upon for anything.”
“I have friends, Tom,” she said, stonily. “I want more than that.”


Kristy McCaffrey said...

Lovely excerpt, Julie! I didn't realize Valentine's Day was so old. It's so sad about Father Valentine.

Julie Lence said...

Hi Kristy: I didn't realize how far back it dated when I began research. Amazing how something said or written so long ago is still in existence today. Hugs!