Buona Festa degli Innamorati – Happy Feast of Love

14 Feb

You might be happy to learn that Valentine’s Day was not created by the greeting card companies. It seems, instead, that is was a religious holiday created in 496 by Pope Gelasius I to replace the pagan festival of the Lupercalia, a Roman festival. The new feast, celebrated on February 14,  became il giorno della festa degli innamorati, or the day of the feast of love, and it was dedicated to Saint Valentine of Terni who preached the message of love. Eventually, the date became linked to romantic love, and in Italy, it was the love between a couple that was celebrated.

Early 20th century Valentine's Day card, showi...

Early 20th century Valentine’s Day card, scanned from ca. 1910 with no notice of copyright. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Up to the 19th century, hand written notes were the norm. Today, however, the greeting card industry has commercialized the concept and love expressions are extended to all family members and friends. According to data from the Greeting Card Association, approximately one billion valentine cards are sent world-wide each year, second only to Christmas. The most common symbols associated with the day are hearts, doves, and cupids.

Scan of a Valentine greeting card dated 1909.

Scan of a Valentine greeting card dated 1909. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Years ago, I asked my husband and daughter to forego cards for my birthday, Valentine’s Day, etc., and instead write me a note or letter. They usually oblige me, or at least take time to write their own thoughts in a card, and I truly appreciate the effort. No matter how good the preprinted poem or phrase, there is nothing that compares to words from the heart.

It would be hard to beat Paul Child’s words to Julia:

You are the butter to my bread –  the breath to my life.

But since it’s the thought that counts…

to my husband and daughter, and to family and friends I am lucky enough to love,

You are the wine in my cup –  the smile in my heart!

Author: Bagande

Author: Bagande (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Valentines Day!

Buona Festa degli Innamorati!

Happy Feast of Love!



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