Well? How many did you get? was the first question asked on Valentine’s Day back in school and the answer I’m sure was almost always an exaggeration. Some schools actually had a delivery round classes during the day of cards to the extreme embarrassment of those who got none – not me obviously, I always got at least double figures obviously but they were all at home and I wouldn’t show anyone as a matter of principle!
Since this particular post will be up on Valentine’s Day I wanted to be in keeping with the love theme but I’m not sure love counts as a genre and if it does it’s a bit too huge and general in Folksy terms. With that in mind, I thought I’d focus on Valentine’s Day itself covering some of the main points and symbols and showcasing some of the ways in which our fabulous Folksy sellers have employed them!
So it probably would not be unreasonable to assume that we’ve all heard of Valentine’s Day. Furthermore, most of us have an inkling that this has something to do with Saint Valentine. There were several Christian martyrs throughout history however it is unknown which one was the Saint Valentine and indeed why. For this reason February 14th was removed from the General Roman Calendar in 1969 although it still appears on most non religious calendars.
One Romantic Legend (not historically substantiated and circulated by American Greetings card company) regarding St Valentine is that he was prosecuted by the Roman Emperor Claudius II and wrote the first ever valentine on the eve of his execution to his beloved who may or may not have been the jailer’s daughter who may or may not have been blind. Hm, can’t wait for the movie version!
It was believed back in the Middle Ages that the birds began to pair around the 14th February and the poem Parliament of Foules by Geoffrey Chaucer (written for the anniversary of the engagement of Richard II to Anne of Bohemia, 1382) is cited by some as the first linking of romantic love with Valentine’s Day (or as Geoff called it, Volantynys day). Whether or not this was actually the case, love birds or birds in pairs are certainly a prominent theme of valentines today.
Valentines were originally hand written declarations of love but they became so popular that companies started producing them for sale. You will no doubt hear at least one or two proclamations during today that Valentine’s Day is all about consumption and mass production rather than the celebration of love, much as you will at Christmas or Easter. However billions of cards and gifts will be purchased every year and many a letterbox will be watched for the flash of a red envelope!
Common themes and symbols associated with the valentine are heart shapes, birds (most prominently love birds and doves), cupid, roses, teddy bears, cute animals such as bunnies and celtic love knots. Obviously those are the clean ones, some are rather more aimed at ‘physical love’ featuring horny devils and naughty rhymes. I had a little notebook of rhymes in school collected mostly from friends’ Mums which ranged from the sickly sweet to potential harassment!
Whether your card is intended for your lover, a family member or maybe a secret crush, the creativity and unique flair of some of the items made by Folksy sellers for this occasion are without doubt worth noting.
List of images:
Hold me in your arms 104 Linoprint by Zebedee
Custom Ninja with loveheart by Lilley’s
Binary I LOVE YOU by wall envy art
Heart and Doves Valentines Card by atelier 22
Love is in the HARE fused glass Valentine wildlife heart plate by Animal Glass – Kilm Fused Glass Art Designs