origins of valentines day

Sweets for the Sweet? Careful!

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Valentine’s Day is a treasured holiday at The Solvang Bakery – it makes us take pause and reflect on how fortunate we are to be in sustained relationships.  Susan and Paul have been married for 49 years and Melissa and Billy have been married for 20 years. We thought we’d poke around to better understand the history of this paramour’s holiday.

be-mine-cookies-the-solvang-bakery-300It seems the origins of Valentine’s Day are nearly as inconclusive as who shot Kennedy. There appears to have been several St. Valentines…at least one of them was allegedly beheaded on February 14 in the north of Rome. He may have been a priest who secretly presided over wedding ceremonies for soldiers so that they wouldn’t have to go to war…thereby inviting the wrath of Emperor Claudius. Or he may have been a priest who helped Christians escape prison in Pagan Rome. Falling in love with his jailor’s daughter, he signed a note to her, ‘From your Valentine.’

Valentine’s cards have been around for centuries. The first written valentine on record was written by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife, whilst he was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415.

EstherHowlandModern American Valentine’s cards were the brainchild of Esther A. Howland, a Mount Holyoke College graduate, who in the late 1840’s whipped up a dozen sample cards made with imported lace and paper from England. Thinking she might get $200 worth of orders, she received an astounding $5,000.  Eventually, she grossed $100,000 year and is now known as the Mother of the American Valentine…and interestingly, Esther never married…she does look rather stern.

One thing we do know for sure is that long-term marriages take care and feeding. Did we say feeding?

They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but we’re pretty sure that tasty morsels will make a child’s heart glow as well.

valentines-cookies-gift-box-open-sm-heart-solvang-bakery-300As we looked into the origins of Valentine’s Day and the giving of Valentine’s, we came across a number of phrases associated with love and lovers. Perhaps one of the most commonly misused phrases at this time of year is sweets for the sweet. It’s a quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet – the Queen is placing funeral flowers (the sweets) on the grave of Hamlet’s now deceased lover, Ophelia (the sweet). The whole scene is rather disturbing for a number of reasons…and it certainly has nothing to do with a lover handing a delicious treat to his betrothed!

new-gingerbread-love-shack-gold-hearts-300So, in sharp contrast to Shakespeare, our Valentine’s Day offerings are truly edible sweets that someone whom you find sweet will swoon over. You’ll find our edible Valentine’s gifts on our Valentine’s Holiday page at a variety of price points.

We’ve updated our Valentine’s Gingerbread Love Shack to include options for gingerbread sweethearts or gumball/candy sweethearts. We also thought the Gingerbread Man could use a girlfriend…the bakery gets lonely at night…so we have a pair of sweethearts that will keep your own paramours and little sweeties content over the three-day weekend.

blog-post-valentines-gingerbread-man-and-woman-the-solvang-bakery-2-500

new-gingerbread-love-shack-2014-the-solvang-bakery-300Our Valentine’s Gingerbread Love Shack Kit will bring some lovable moments with your children…or between a boyfriend and girlfriend. It might even be fun to hide a ring in one of the candy containers…just sayin’.

However you decide to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and whatever its authentic origins, make sure you let those you love know you love them!

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Valentine

http://www.enotes.com/shakespeare-quotes/sweets-sweet

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esther_Howland

http://www.worcesterhistory.org/wo-valentines.html#

http://www.wbur.org/2012/02/14/origin-valentines