My Valentine's Table has items of sentimental value and things that I like.
Ah Valentine's Day, I remember what it was like to be wooed by an unknown admirer! The thrill of seeing an envelope (or two or more!) on the mat, on my desk at work or under the car's windscreen wiper, and then trying to work out who the sender was.One that always comes to mind was soon after my divorce (yeah) I joined a drama group. Myself and a friend who was also in the group received cards from the same guy with the same message inside, it was a long time ago so I can’t remember it word for word but it was something along the lines of “Months have passed since I was down your way, still looking as beautiful as ever, my heart was warmed by the sight of your smile” and signed from “Your itinerant admirer” We set to work to unmask him.
Turned out it was a guy who had left the group and the town to live a simple life travelling the canals on his barge - how sweet. By the time we had worked it out he had moved on and we never saw him again - how sad. One or two fell by the wayside and remain anonymous to this day.
The pearls belonged to my mother
I like Valentine's day and used to celebrate it, but not by pandering to the over priced seasonal retailers. We used to buy something delicious from M&S, a bottle of bubbly and have a romantic night in.
The tradition of Valentine’s Day is thought to be Roman in origin. A popular theory from the biographical account of Saint Valentine of Rome states that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. It is said that during his imprisonment he healed the daughter of his jailer, and that before his execution he wrote her a farewell letter and signed it "Your Valentine".
By 1601 St. Valentine’s Day appears to be an established part of English tradition, as William Shakespeare makes mention of it in Ophelia’s lament in Hamlet:
In 1797, was first published. This contained gems of sentimental rhymes and ditties for those young gentlemen who were so much in love as to not be able to think clearly enough to compose their own verse. Ahh bless.
Although the Royal Mail Service had been made available to the public since 1635, it was not until the introduction of the Penny Post in 1840 that the postal service became affordable to most people, making the sending of anonymous Valentine’s Day cards possible. All over the country printers started to mass-produce the cards we have today, complete with pre-prepared verses and pretty pictures. That said, the anonymity aspect of being able to send a Valentine's Day card was also responsible for introducing daring and racy verse to the prudish Victorians! And oh boy were those Victorians prudish. It is thought that long table cloths became fashionable in that era because the Victorians insisted that table legs had to be covered up for fear that a shapely leg would stimulate erotic feelings!! Probably just a myth, but nevertheless a quirky idea.
In 1847 this quaint English tradition was introduced into America and the rest, as they say, is history…In the US alone, approximately 190 million valentine cards are now sent each year; worldwide the figure is estimated to be closer to 1 billion. And then of course the www has provided the opportunity for millions of people to create and send their own messages.
Happy Valentine’s Day