By Kathleen Neafsey
Baby, it’s cold outside! January is nearly over, and February is fast-approaching! With that in mind, I wanted to make something new for Valentine’s Day. The idea for the craft came easily to me, but when writing this post, I got curious about the history of Valentine’s Day. Why do we exchange Valentines? And why do we use X’s and O’s as hugs and kisses? Overthink things much, Kath?
Although I went to Catholic school, and was taught by nuns, I don’t recall St. Valentine being one of the saints that we learned a lot about — of course, I went to grade school back when dinosaurs roamed the earth so it’s quite possible I’ve forgotten much of what I learned. Hence, the Google search — I won’t bore you with the minutiae of it all, but here is a sample of what I found – things that I never knew (or knew and forgot):
One story suggests that Valentine may have been killed for trying to help prisoners escape from harsh Roman prisons, where he had becomee a prisoner himself. History.com says: according to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Whichever legend you choose to believe, Valentine is seen as a heroic, romantic figure. According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making it the 2nd most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas!
As for the X’s and O’s – nearly all of the explanations I read agree that the X symbol refers to a Christian cross and dates back to the days of a less literate society, where marking an “X” on a document served as a signature. The “X” was then sealed with a kiss as a sign of good faith. It seems that the most agreed upon explanation for the “O” represents arms encircling another as an embrace. There you have it, trivia you didn’t bargain for in a craft post!
Let’s go! On to the easy-peasy wreath I’ve created. Let’s start with the supplies you’ll need: