Friday, January 30, 2009

"From your Valentine"

Wool heart by Angela of

Paper Hearts by Marilyn of

Crafty sewing by Lori of

Heart by Loribeth of

Heart by Eunice of

I'm so happy to be part of the Vintage Journal Team - thanks so much Denise for inviting me! Last night I stayed up late sewing vintage hearts while my son was studying for an exam on ancient Rome. Today I was exploring the history of Valentine's Day, and I discovered that its origin is VERY vintage: ancient Rome! I've also found some gorgeous hearts handmade by Etsy crafters; just click on the photographs to travel to their shops.

Heart by Barb of
Herewith is a brief summary of some of the legends surrounding Valentine's Day from ancient Rome all the way to the "Mother of the Valentine", American Esther Howland, who created the first commercial valentines in 1840 out of lace, ribbon, and scraps of this and that. What a timeless thing we do - to express our love we look around our homes and create something special out of our humble stashes of materials.

Hearts by me!
Valentine was a third century Roman priest. Legend has it that Emperor Claudius II was looking to increase his army and decided there would be more eligible young men if he outlawed marriage. It is said that Valentine continued to marry young couples until he was caught and imprisoned. A separate legend says that when he was imprisoned he either tried to help Christians escape, and/or he fell in love with the prison guard's daughter and wrote to her, signing "from your Valentine". In 270 A.D.!
Valentine's Day may have been the Church's attempt to Christianize a Roman (pagan) festival celebrating the ides of February (the 15th) which was the first day of Spring in Rome. This festival, called Lupercalia, was all about purification of citizen's homes - Spring cleaning - as well as a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the God of agriculture, and to Romulus and Remus.

Pope Gelasius declared St. Valentine's Day in 498 A.D. Before the Christian Church outlawed it, eligible Romans were enjoying their February dating "lottery" system wherein eligible young women put their names into a giant urn. Bachelors would choose names from the urn and date their chosen woman for a year which often led to marriage.
In the Middle Ages in France and England, February 14th was known as the first day of the mating season for all birds, and it was celebrated romantically. By the 17th century, Valentine's Day was celebrated by most English citizens.
So we crafters follow a VERY vintage tradition of sewing our love and affection into Valentines for our loved ones. I wish all of our readers happy anticipation, and a joyful February 14th.

All my best wishes,


littlethings1 said...

Iam inspired now ! What a great read ! Thank you so much for including my Vintage Button Heart with all of the other amazing hearts you featured !!
The Little Things

Southern Lady's Vintage said...

Great finds!!

maminka girl- Loribeth Robare said...

thanks so much for featuring my Sailor's Valentine heart on your lovely blog! Loribeth

Lori said...

HI Leslie!
Thanks ever-so-much for thinking of me, and for including my little stitched Valentine whimsy in your post ~

I love visiting the member's blogs & offerings of the Vintage Journal Blog!!

I adore your little grey heart ornie, too!!

Lori from Notforgotten farm

Debbi said...

Leslie, what a lovely collection of "heart art"! Thanks for sharing the work of several etsy artists!