The Origin Of Valentine’s Day

A lot of people celebrate Valentine’s Day. (Or if you are like me and you are single, this holiday is most likely S.A.D –  Singles Awareness Day.) But have you ever wondered why we celebrate it, and who this Valentine guy was? Well, wonder no more! (Click the links at the end of the quotes if you want to view the whole article where I found the information. 😉)

Image Credit: Pixabay

The history behind it is actually quite dark. Two people with the name of Valentine were martyred in different years in Ancient Rome on that day. The Catholic church recognized them as saints. And at this time, Lupercalia was already established by the ancient Romans to be celebrated from February 13th through the 15th. So, what is that celebrating?

Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Lupercalia was a very ancient, possibly pre-Roman pastoral annual festival, observed in the city of Rome on February 15, to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility. Lupercalia was also called “dies Februatus”, purified (literally “februated day”) after the instruments of purification called “februa”, which give the month of February (Februarius) its name. – Wikipedia on Lupercalia

Killing two birds with one stone: Now we know where February got its name from too…

Image Credit: Pixabay

Anyway…

The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.

The Roman romantics “were drunk. They were naked,” says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile.

The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, um, coupled up for the duration of the festival — or longer, if the match was right. – NPR

So… that’s awful. Those poor women. I don’t even want to think about it.

Later, Pope Gelasius I muddled things in the 5th century by combining St. Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia to expel the pagan rituals. But the festival was more of a theatrical interpretation of what it had once been. Lenski adds, “It was a little more of a drunken revel, but the Christians put clothes back on it. That didn’t stop it from being a day of fertility and love.”

Around the same time, the Normans celebrated Galatin’s Day. Galatin meant “lover of women.” That was likely confused with St. Valentine’s Day at some point, in part because they sound alike. – NPR

This sort of sounds like what happened with Christmas. Take a pagan holiday and combine it with a Christian holiday in an attempt to convert people. Or in this case, try to twist the pagan holiday to make it “Christian”.

Then I was curious about how the Valentine Cards were started:

Another embellishment suggests that Saint Valentine performed clandestine Christian weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. The Roman Emperor Claudius II supposedly forbade this in order to grow his army, believing that married men did not make for good soldiers.  However, George Monger writes that this marriage ban was never issued and that Claudius II told his soldiers to take two or three women for themselves after his victory over the Goths.

According to legend, in order “to remind these men of their vows and God’s love, Saint Valentine is said to have cut hearts from parchment”, giving them to these soldiers and persecuted Christians, a possible origin of the widespread use of hearts on St. Valentine’s Day. – Wikipedia on Valentine’s Day

So that’s how Valentine’s Day got its start
And how people started sending Valentine’s Day hearts.
I do hope that you enjoyed and learned something new
Happy Valentine’s Day (or Singles Awareness Day) to you!

💘

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Jesus will be with me – Collaboration with Following Him beside still waters

Hayley from Red Letters asked if she could write a melody to Jesus Will Be With Me and of course, I said YES… and here it is in song form! She did an AMAZING job. Click the link below – or above – to visit her blog and listen to it. 😀

Red Letters

I’m so excited to share this very special song with you all. My lovely friend, Grace, from Following Him beside still waters wrote a beautiful poem and shared it on her blogpost ‘Jesus will be with me’ on Sunday. I asked if I could put a melody to these inspiring words and turn it into a song and Grace said yes! Here are the words from Grace’s poem.

Verse 1:

When I go through water’s deep,
Jesus will be with me

When billowing waves overtake,
With me, He will still be

Chorus:

For without Him I would drown
In brutal waters deep

If He were not with me, I know
Water would overtake

For without Him, when I lay me down
Fears would keep me from sleep

If He were not with me, from sleep’s hold I would never wake

Verse 2:

When at night I fall fast asleep,
Jesus…

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Blog Party!

Bernadine at The Little Flour Bed is hosting a blogging party today that goes until Wednesday! Click the link below to join in! 😀

https://thelittleflourbed.wordpress.com/2018/01/21/blog-party/

The Little Flour Bed

Hello everyone! I havent hosted a blog party in a while and they are always so much fun! I decided to host one starting today until Wednesday, which gives you plenty of time! A blog party us where you leave a link to your blog in the comment section, visit and meet new blogs/people and have lots of fun!

Here are the rules:

1. Choose any one of your favorite blog posts from your own blog, all kinds of posts are welcome. (Anything inappropriate will be removed). You can share up to three links each day, but it’s best to wait some time between each one.

2. Paste your link in the comment section of this post and tell a little bit about yourself and/or your blog.

3. REBLOG this post to let everyone know!!

4. Now grab a fuzzy blanket and get ready to read more blogs and meet…

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Broken Heart’s Embrace (Poem) & An Update On Life (January 17, 2018)

Tiger and Rabbit

Hello all! 🙂 It looks like I’m going to make up for not posting for the past few days by filling up your readers and inboxes today, haha.

If you have been following me long, you’ve probably noticed that I don’t talk about my life much in terms of personal life. And I still don’t plan to share a whole lot, but at the same time, I want to be a little more open. (The “An Update On Life” title was inspired by Maggie’s Life Updates – if you haven’t been to her blog, I encourage you to drop by – her blog is amazing. I linked to it there. 😉)

My dad is very ill. He caught my cold and he has asthma, but he has been ill for six years now, so this is hitting him extra hard. He has requested privacy so I won’t be saying anything else about him. Prayers would be appreciated though.

I’m still battling with fear a bit, but it wasn’t as bad as that one instance a couple of weeks ago. The unknown is scary.  Dwelling on what the future may hold can easily make the here and now more miserable than it needs to be. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NASB) Why is it so hard sometimes to give things to God? I hold onto things for dear life that I shouldn’t be holding onto. Always thinking of the worst case scenario and then believing that will happen when that’s not necessarily true. I’m not omnipresent, omniscient, or omnipotent. I don’t know the future. It’s not as if worrying will actually help anything anyway, even if I knew the future. It wouldn’t change it.  It would probably do the opposite, for “…who of you by being worried can add a single  hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27 NASB) Really. Worrying would most likely take hours away from life, not just in the long run, but all the wasted hours worrying that could have been spent elsewhere are lost forever because once the time is gone, there is no way to get it back. But I do know one thing – as I go through life, Jesus will be with me, so I needn’t fear.  Now to convince my brain so it will stop worrying… (Haha, wow, this paragraph was massive. 😅 Moving along to the last part of the update…)

And as if that’s not enough… if you read my post titled New Year, New Things, you probably saw the photos of my cats that I shared. Last week, Rabbit died suddenly; you’ll probably recognize at least one of the photos below. It was a huge shock; I didn’t realize she was sick, she seemed fine the evening before, and I found her gone the next morning. She would have been 10 years old this Spring. In her memory, I’m going to post a collage of a few photos of her (and her siblings that happen to be in the photos with her) that I’ve taken over the years.

I’ve been an emotional mess for the past week for these reasons, as you can imagine. Also, because of all of this, I don’t know how often I will be posting on WordPress for a while. (I do, however, plan to catch up on responding to comments today if possible – I’m days behind! 😱)

I wrote a poem last year for Rosie and other pets that I have lost over the years. In Rabbit’s honor, I’m sharing it below.

Broken Heart’s Embrace

Today it hurts too much
To ruminate on images of your face
Or your loving touch
On my broken heart’s embrace…

Pain dulls the delight
Of memories we shared way back when
Like a shade over the light
Until I wonder if it will come back again.

Remembering reflections
Moments of sweet and bitter sorrow
Mingle with recollections
That will be more cheerful tomorrow.

Someday it won’t hurt so;
The pain will be dulled by the bliss,
Tears of sadness won’t flow,
And will be replaced by joy’s kiss.

New Year, New Things

🎉 Happy New Year! 🎊

I hope that you have been enjoying the New Year so far! 😀 Mine has certainly been… interesting. 😅

Along with this new year, I have few new things to talk about.

First, I plan to change my theme soon for a refreshing new look. (My plan was for this to happen on New Years Day and then me getting sick derailed it… 😅 This is also the reason for the lack of posts since Christmas. Sorry, guys, I hope to get back on track soon. I’m much better but the congestion and coughing came after I thought I was better and uuugggghhhh. 😝) So consider this is a warning: if you see wonky things happening such as themes changing, things randomly disappearing, widgets moving from place to place – sorry for any confusion that may result from that. (Because of some cold medicine I took, I slept from 2AM until 6PM the next day for two days in a row; and now my body doesn’t understand when to sleep. Therefore, these changes will most likely happen in the middle of the night or very early morning in the days to come. Hopefully, not many people will notice the craziness that will ensue as I figure out how to set everything up… 😅)
Anyway, I plan to switch from the Booklite theme to the Hemingway Rewritten theme. Maybe. The main reason for the change is that I really like the sidebar menu and the Booklite theme doesn’t allow one. So I know that it will be a theme with a sidebar. And a header. I really like my header. 😊

Second, in the meantime, I went ahead and messed with the fonts and added new widgets at the bottom of the page now (if you are viewing in the reader, click here and scroll to view) – a new tag cloud widget and a Goodreads widget! I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I had a Goodreads account, and I finally figured out how to put it on my blog so that you all can see what I’m reading. I must warn you, they span many genres. I don’t stick to one kind. 😄 So you’ll see Christian fiction and nonfiction, Mysteries, Young Adult, and Children’s books. I know, I’m in my mid-twenties I should have outgrown Children’s books already, right? Nope, not for me. 😄 I’ve always loved these and I love writing for this genre too.

Third, I’m reading My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers (looks like you can get it daily free here: https://utmost.org/ if you want to read it too) and Streams in the Desert by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman this year, which I haven’t tried to do before – reading a yearly devotional, that is. I’ve read a month-long devotional once, but not a year-long one. And two devotionals at once, I know, what am I thinking? Haha. Read one in the morning and one at night. We’ll see if I succeed in keeping up with it. So far so good. 🙂 But this is only January 2nd and I’m spending a lot of time in bed because of this cold which means extra time to read… so that doesn’t mean much. 😂

Fourth, I want to thank my parents (who got the same cold… from me… I’m so sorry both of you, that is one Christmas present I never wanted to give you 😅 😅 😅) for being so patient with me while I’ve been sick. I want to give a shout-out to my mom. Like I said above, she got the same cold I did, and even though she did, she fed my cats when I couldn’t go outside because the cold air made my cough so much worse, and I appreciate it so much. And I’m sure that they do too. (I can’t wait until I can start feeding them myself again though – I miss spending time with and cuddling my furry babies! <3) I mean, take a look at some of them. (Pictured below: Catalina, Simone, Rabbit, Jay, Firecracker, Radar, Belle, and Dottie.)

😍❤😍❤😍❤😍❤😍❤😍

OKAY, OKAY. Maybe I won’t go outside and cuddle the last one. Philip the Opposum isn’t that cuddly. But he also isn’t camera shy if you give him food… 😂

Well, I managed to get completely sidetracked and off-topic as soon as I mentioned cats. Typical… 😂 Anyway, I’ll be back soon with a new theme (I hope) and a new poem that I’ve been working on! Have a great Tuesday! ❤

Christmas Tradition Origins: Christmas Tree, Wreath, and Yuletide

christmas-decorations-1149929__340

Have you ever wondered why at Christmas, we:

  1. Decorate Christmas trees?
  2. Hang wreaths on our door?
  3. Call the holiday Yuletide?

Back in October of 2016 and then again just a few days ago (they used to hang apples from Christmas trees?! Whaaat? 😄 Thanks for getting me curious, T. R. Noble!), I was inspired to research this and I’m finally getting around to sharing what I found out. I didn’t even plan to look for the origins of the wreath and Yuletide; it turned out they were connected. 😅 Truly fascinating stuff. (You may want to grab some hot chocolate and marshmallows; this is going to be a long post.)

**Source of quoted text (in green) below: History of the Christmas Tree

**Also, check out the two links that T. R. Noble left in the comments; those were so interesting! 😉

History of the Christmas Tree, Wreaths, and Yuletide

  • Tradition and Victorian Craft Lore
    The history of the Christmas tree is a rich religious genealogy of the ancient Nordic peoples of the windswept forests spanning Northern Europe, and the warm Victorian countryside of 19th century England. By evolving throughout the centuries from Norse pagan nature worship to Germanic Christian tradition and again to Victorian Christmas folklore, the Christmas tree finally found itself engendered within the contemporary Christmas icon of the Balsam fir Christmas tree. Though the Christmas tree today can be considered more the influence of Victorian craft lore, the spiritual forefather, a dark and haunting aged Evergreen, has his roots firmly fixed to the frozen soil of ancient Germanic mountain forests. The origin of the Christmas tree is a mysterious and timeless pagan legend.holly-1901587__340
  • The Norse Pagan History of the Christmas Tree:
    To fully appreciate the history of the Christmas tree, one must understand the mystical importance coniferous evergreens held for the pagan Norsemen who inhabited the frigid and often enchanting forests of Northern Germany. This era of pre-Christian Germanic history can be characterized as a time as savage as it was beautiful, mystical as it was mysterious, and as warm hearted as it was cold and bitter in a frozen landscape. Pre-Christian Pagans inhabited a land that they believed they shared with numerous Gods, nature-spirits, and demons. A common example was the Norse worship of the Oak tree; its strong and long burning wood was a sign of the strength of the spirits that inhabited the Oak, and it was often used as a symbol of the Norse god chieftain, Odin.holly-1901586__340
  • When the seasons turned, however, and winter brought with it numerous evils and malicious spirits stalking the shadows of wintery forests, the Pagan peoples would turn to the aid and magic of any nature spirits that would help them. Plants and trees such as mistletoe, holly and evergreen, unlike the forementioned Oak tree, were believed to have some special power against the darker magics of winter because they were the only plants that stayed green throughout the year. During the winter, to shore their homes from malevolent winter spirits, Pagan Germanic peoples would hang wreaths and bushels of evergreens over their doors and windows, believing their spirit was enough to ward off winter evils. In many cases evergreen decor were brought indoors where their scent could freshen the dark, medieval homes of otherwise stagnant straw and thresh. The needles and cones would even be burned as a form of incense; its smoke and fragrance filling the home with the protective spirit-magic of the evergreen.holly-1901586__340
  • During the Winter Solstice, when winter was at its darkest and the days were the shortest of the year by the Germanic Lunar Calendar, Celtic and pagan civilizations throughout Northern Europe would celebrate and sacrifice to the Norse god, Jul (Though pronounced and contemporarily recognized as “Yule.”), and celebrate their Yule Tide festival. This is the tradition from which we have our Yule log, today. The Germanic practice, however, involved cutting down a massive hardwood log that was large enough to burn for twelve days of feasting and sacrifice, and served as a fertility symbol to both help with the coming of spring and prophesize its bounty. During the Winter Solstice, when winter had its strongest influence on the frozen landscape, Norse pagans would, by tradition, bring entire evergreen trees into their homes. These massive evergreens were called Yule trees, and it was believed that the spirits of the trees would inhabit their home and bless its inhabitants. This practice was as much Winter Solstice tradition as it was mystical protection from night-faring spirits during the darkest times of the year.holly-1901587__340
  • The Germanic Legend of Saint Boniface of Credition:
    During the 8th Century, missionaries from the Holy Roman Catholic Church began to make their way North to what is now Germany and the Netherlands. One such missionary, who would become the saintly Bishop of Germany, was Boniface of Credition. Boniface, a stalwart and moral gentile, was quickly set aback by the pagan rituals of polytheism, nature worship, and human sacrifice. While many Germanic peoples readily accepted the Catholic faith, there were still some hardened tribes that even proved violently hostile in their resistance to Catholic missionaries such as Boniface. It would be in a single legendary act that Saint Boniface of Credition seemed to symbolically set the tone for the Holy Roman Catholic Church: instead of usurping the pagan faith completely with Catholicism, Boniface chose to shift their focus and also adopted the more desirable pagan beliefs and customs himself.holly-1901586__340
  • It is said that when Saint Boniface came across a human sacrifice at the foot of the Oak of Thor in Geismar, Boniface cut down the oak in a symbolic act of removing the older barbaric Celtic traditions. Pointing to an evergreen that was growing at the roots of the fallen oak, Saint Boniface said, “This humble tree’s wood is used to build your homes: let Christ be at the centre of your households. Its leaves remain evergreen in the darkest days: let Christ be your constant light. Its boughs reach out to embrace and its top points to heaven: let Christ be your comfort and guide.” In much the same way that the Holy Roman Catholic Church assimilated many other pagan customs and traditions to help with the converting of the Northern Germanic peoples, Saint Boniface accommodated the pre-existing Celtic beliefs in the mysticism of evergreens and incorporated it to help with a smoother transition for pagan peoples over to Catholicism.holly-1901586__340
  • In many ways, this legend of Saint Boniface of Credition would have helped with the incorporation of the Yule trees and Yule Tide evergreens of the Germanic Winter Solstice into the Roman’s “Christ’s Mass” celebrating the birth of their savior, Jesus. The converted Germans who were celebrating Christ’s Mass would have celebrated in much the same way as they did the Winter Solstice, save for many of their central traditions being more gentile. The evergreen trees that they brought indoors were now symbols of the holy trinity; the stars at the top serving as a symbol of heaven and God. Apples were hung from the branches that would later become Christmas decorations, symbolizing the fruit of the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden. This tradition would continue until the Victorian Era where not a single German household was complete at Christmas without a small, table-top “Tannenbaum” or Yule tree.holly-1901587__340
  • The History of the Victorian Christmas Tree:
    While the Yule trees of Germany may have made appearances throughout Europe after being culturally transplanted from Germany, the Victorian “Christmas tree” hadn’t made its popular Victorian appearance until 1848. With the marriage of Princess Victoria to her cousin, Prince Albert of Germany, the custom of the Christmas tree came with the new prince of England and was celebrated in Windsor Palace for the sake of the young royal family. Prince Albert had written, “I must now seek in the children an echo of what Ernest (Albert’s brother) and I were in the old time, of what we felt and thought; and their delight in the Christmas-trees is not less than our used to be.” At this, the London Illustrated News published a woodcarving print of the young royal family at Christmas time with a decadently decorated Christmas tree in the December of 1848. With the widespread distribution of the illustration, within two years every home in England had an evergreen Christmas tree in their home.holly-1901586__340
  • An interesting attribute of the Victorian era and incidentally the Victorian Christmas, was the popular attempt to bring elements of the countryside into city homes during the holiday season. Thanks to the Victorian era’s Industrial Revolution, a significant concentration of the nation’s newly wealthy were living in cities. With this move away from country homes and villas, successful and independently wealthy alike quickly picked up where Prince Albert left off. In an attempt to recapture a quaint and warm image of the country side and the country homes they had left behind, Victorians had Christmas trees that were elegantly decorated with glass ornaments, silver tinsel, gold stars, and delicate candles that would glow over the children’s Christmas gifts. Evergreen Christmas wreaths that were decorated with an array of dried berries, apples and ribbons were popular with the Victorians and would be hung on doors and given as gifts to loved ones for the holidays. In much the same way we associate the Victorian era with decadent crafts and decorations, it was the Victorian era that truly made Christmas trees and Christmas wreaths what they are today.holly-1901586__340
  • For the less wealthy and poor, the Victorian ear was the pinnacle of the Industrial Revolution in another way. With it came the detached monotonies of factory labor and a harder, bleaker life in the cities. In much the same way they served the Pre-Christian Germans, evergreen trees, wreaths and garland began to spread as an “old country” symbolic defense against the harsh realities of winter in an industrialized 19th century city. Most importantly, evergreens were used as a symbol of the holiday season, and a time for the philanthropy and good will that the Victorian era bestowed on the celebration thanks to writers and poets such as Clement Clarke Moore (“A Visit from St. Nicholas” or “The Night Before Christmas,” published in 1823) and Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol, published in 1843). Evergreen Christmas décor represented a shift in the emotional climate; away from the work houses and begging orphans, towards a warmer spirit of heart-felt benevolence and charity. Incidentally, the ‘spirit’ of Christmas is aroused from a Victorian Christmas tree in much the same way the spirit of the evergreen was enticed from a Yule tree in a pagan Germanic North.holly-1901587__340

I found this to be so interesting! 🙂 Until now, I hadn’t heard of Saint Boniface of Crediton; but he was a pretty cool guy. I hope that you all find this as fascinating as I did, and I hope that I didn’t wreck your view of these Christmas decorations with this. 😅

Photo credit – Pixabay: Holly (three leaves), Holly (two leaves), Wreath

The Nutcracker

Hello, everyone! The Christmas video for today will be coming up later, but first, here is a Nutcracker that I met yesterday. 🙂 We took my grandma to the doctor for her checkup and this three-foot-tall Nutcracker greeted us. He’s made out of wood, except for his eyes that are made of Coke Cola bottle caps, and the star and beard that are metal. Whoever made him had talent!

(I didn’t get to stay on WordPress long yesterday because I wasn’t home for most of the day, therefore I am so behind replying to comments and reading posts… 😅 I’ll try to catch up today!)