This week: Valentines Firsts!Edited by: StephB Keeping Warm
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Last newsletter, I talked about “firsts.” January being the first month of the new year, is full of hope and resolutions. One of the first ever written romances, was Jane Eyre. Now the end of the month is here and we’re moving into a new adventure. February is a month is full of romance and valentines, so I thought I’d explore some valentines firsts this newsletter.
My lucky food I like to eat at New Years is a donut. It’s about the circle of life; finishing the old and starting the new. Mind you it’s not good for my new year’s resolution/goal to lose weight. but if it’s worth some good luck, I’ll take it!
What do I love about the New Year? The feeling that I’m starting fresh. I’ve enjoyed the holidays and I’m ready to move onto to what a new year and new adventures can bring.
So, what do we know about Valentines Day? We know it’s dedicated to romance. Sweets, flowers, and cards are involved. Maybe there’s a rom com to go see. We know the day was inspired by a long ago saint, but do you know much about St. Valentine? What role does cupid play? If any? And what about those sweetheart treats…?
Valentines Day origins are a mystery to history. The holiday’s origins begin during the Roman Empire after Christ died. The Roman Empire believed in pagan gods, and yet the followers of Jesus Christ and his message were taking root and growing. As the church gained strength, and the Roman Empire waned, the church desired to incorporate pagan holidays into their calendar to gain more followers.
The Catholic Church, during this time had three saints named Valentine, and all were martyred. One legend in the 3rd century talked about Valentine being a priest. Emperor Claudius decreed that men without families made better soldiers so he ordered only single men can be soldiers. Valentine married soldiers anyway. Another legend has Valentine helping soldiers in a jail. He fell in love and passed along a letter to the jailor’s daughter signed “from your Valentine.” He was put to death. It’s unknown if this is the same person or a different only.
Cupid, is the son of Venus, another pagan god. He’s depicted as a child with a bow and arrow. He can shoot his arrows and make people fall in love. Mind you, he can make people fall out of love if he uses a different arrow. Cupid is generally pictured as a happy, mischievous fellow, giving off good vibes. And isn’t that what valentines is all about?
Also, the Roman pagan festival Lupercalia was celebrated during this time. This festival was intended to be a fertility ritual. Men and women sacrificed goats and dogs, touched the hides, and found a husband and or wife. In the 5th century, Pope Gelaius outlawed Lupercalia and replaced it with St. Valentines Day.
The first written valentine is credited to Charles, the Duke of Orleans in the 1400’s. He was a French nobleman, captured after the Battle of Agincourt by the England and taken back to England as a prisoner, where he became an accomplished poet. He often wrote poetry to his wife Bonnie, while a captive. In one specific poem he uses the word, “Valentine.” (the poem begins: My very gentle valentine)
Sweetheart Candies first got their start in 1901. They were made by the New England Confectionary Company, known as NECCO. The owner possessed a machine that cut and stamped small sayings on what was originally lozenges, but soon expanded. In the late 1800’s when Valentines cards became popular by Esther Howland, Daniel Chase, brother of NECCO’s owner, wondered if he could print sayings on candy hearts. Sweathearts were originally pastel colored and hard enough to break teeth, but with quaint romantic sayings like, “be mine” and “sweet talk.” In 2011, they changed their formula so they were easier to chew. The target audience of sweethearts were children, moms, and teachers. The “Marry Me” heart is the most popular heart. Sweethearts have stood the test of the time, probably due to their small size and price point. Sadly, there won’t be too many around this Valentines day. The company (NECCO) was bought out this past year by Spangler and sweathearts won’t be produced due to the sale. Next year though, Spangler says there will be plenty of candies for next year.
Question for you: What’s your favorite Valentines candy?
CHALLENGE: Write a 1,000 word or less Valentines flash fiction and I’ll feature it in my next newsletter.
Now, I realize some people don’t find Valentines Day a fun holiday. Some people detest Valentines Day. I hear ya’.Valentines Day isn’t for everyone. If you’d like to share anti-Valentines Day story, I’d love to hear it.
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FEEDBACK from my Romance/Love Newsletter DTD: 2 JAN 2019:
I don't set resolutions because I have never kept any. I don't have a lucky food I eat at new years eve, but I love to toast the new year in with champagne. I will shout out the love for Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre was one of my first novel as a teenager.
Write 2 Publish 2020
I wish I could say "off with the old, on with the new!" Life moves from one day to the next. Each day is a new beginning. I will finish re-editing my last book for republishing. I'm waiting for the next phase of my second book from the publisher and working on a new book I've lost the thrill to write. I'm hoping this new year will recharge that vibe and I'll pump out the last of the novel.
StephB Keeping Warm is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. Her sweet Christmas romance, “Mr. Christmas Elf” is avail on Kindle from Prairie Rose Publishing. Can Jules get that muffler she needs really bad for Christmas or will an elf named Elvis throw a wrinkle in her plan?
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