The History of Valentine’s Day

For most people, Valentine’s Day means handwritten heart-shaped notes, thoughtful gifts of flowers or jewelry, and most importantly, time spent with a loved one. But why is February 14th considered the day of love? And how did the holiday start in the first place?

It turns out, nobody really, truly knows the true history of Valentine’s Day. But what we do know about the origins of Valentine’s Day isn’t all that romantic. The day is named, of course, for St. Valentine, but why? And which Valentine? There were apparently two Valentines executed on February 14 (albeit in different years) by Emperor Claudius II, reports NPR—the reason the church designated the day for the martyrs.

It’s possible that the heart-filled holiday is based on a combination of the two men, according to The New York Times. A widely accepted tale was published in The Boston Globe in 1965 and posits that one, Saint Valentine of Terni who was executed around 278 A.D., had been secretly officiating weddings for Roman soldiers against the emperor’s wishes, making him, in some eyes, a proponent of young love.

Many also believe that St. Valentine’s Day was designated by Pope Gelasius I in order to replace the ancient Roman festival Lupercalia. The debaucherous feast fell around the same time and involved a pagan ritual, which they believed promoted fertility. Following this flagellation was an equally strange tradition, in which men selected women’s names at random to decide who would remain together the rest of the festival, or if the match was successful, for life.

However, a University of Kansas English professor, the late Jack B. Oruch, had a different theory, notes the Times: Through research, he determined that the poet Geoffrey Chaucer linked love with St. Valentine for the first time in his 14th-century works “Parlement of Foules” and “The Complaint of Mars.” Therefore, Oruch claimed that Chaucer invented Valentine’s Day as we know it today. At the time, February 14th also happened to be considered the first day of spring since it was the beginning of birds’ mating season—perfectly appropriate for a celebration of affection.

Whether or not Chaucer can be fully credited, it is true that he and fellow writer Shakespeare popularized the amorous associations surrounding the day. Soon, people started penning and exchanging cards.

By the early 1910s, an American company that would one day become Hallmark began distributing Valentine’s Day cards. Flowers, candy, jewelry, and more followed, and the rest, of course, is history.

by Taysha Murtaugh

www.countryliving.com/life/a46353/history-of-valentines-day/

Four Unconventional Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day or Any Other Day!

After a while, the predictable Valentine’s Day gifts heart-shaped boxes of candy, overpriced dinners and bouquets of roses start to lose their appeal. This Valentine’s Day, rather than spending the night as you always do, we say bid adieu to all those dates and try something new with your special someone. To make the date planning that much easier, we’ve rounded up a few suggestions if you’re looking to switch things up.

Axe Throwing: Whether you’re planning on spending V-Day with your significant other or you’re planning an epic single night out for you and all your friends, look no further than axe throwing. This experience is so much more fun and can be booked with other couples, not to mention it’s indoors.

Karaoke: There’s no better way to truly get to know someone than by doing something spontaneous such as karaoke! Dedicate a song to your date and you’ll score serious brownie points.

Take a Dance Class: Trade up your dinner reservations and put on your dancing shoes and try a fun dance class. Chances are, you won’t catch on to all of the moves, but you’ll have a great time trying!

Visit a Board Game Cafe: Whether this Valentine’s Day marks your first date or your hundredth, a board game cafe is a perfect spot for couples to connect or reconnect over a game or two.

Check out more great date ideas at
https://29secrets.com/relationships/unconventional-valentines-day-date-ideas/.

Easy Dinner Ideas That Will Impress Your Valentine

Ingredients:
• 3/4 c. balsamic vinegar
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 tbsp. honey
• 2 tbsp. olive oil
• 1 tbsp. dried thyme
• 1 tbsp. dried oregano
• 4 steak fillets, such as sirloin
• 2 tomatoes, sliced
• Kosher salt
• 4 slices mozzarella
• Fresh basil leaves, for serving

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, garlic, honey, olive oil, dried thyme, and dried oregano.

2. Pour over steak and let marinade 20 minutes.

3. Season tomatoes with salt and pepper.

4. Heat grill to high. Grill steak 5 minutes per side, then top with mozzarella and tomatoes and cover grill until cheese is melty, 2 minutes.

5. Add basil and serve.

http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a48615/caprese-steak-recipe/

Ingredients:
• 1 c. all-purpose flour
• Kosher salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
• 2 tbsp. butter
• 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
• 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 3/4 c. marsala wine
• 3/4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
• 1/3 c. heavy cream
• 2 tbsp. Freshly Chopped Parsley
• Cooked angel hair, for serving

Directions:
1. Season flour with salt and pepper, dredge chicken in flour.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil. Add chicken and cook until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.

3. Make Marsala sauce: melt remaining butter in skillet and add mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are golden and liquid has been released, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, then season with salt.

4. Add marsala, chicken broth, heavy cream, and parsley and bring to a simmer.

5. Return chicken to skillet and spoon sauce over breasts.

6. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

7. Serve over angel hair, if desired.

http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a49576/creamy-chicken-marsala-recipe/

Ingredients:
• 4 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips
• 1 lb. fresh strawberries

Directions:
1. Place chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.

2. Holding the strawberries by the stem, dip in the melted chocolate, letting the excess chocolate drip off.

3. Transfer the dipped strawberries onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper.

4. Refrigerate the strawberries until the chocolate is firm, at least 30 min. Enjoy!

Recipe: Taste the Love with Red Velvet Puppy Chow!

Ingredients:
• 5 C. Rice Chex Cereal
• 3/4 C. White Chocolate Chips
• 1/4 C. Chocolate Chips
• 2 oz. Cream Cheese (room temp)
• 1 1/2 Tbsp. Milk
• 1 C. Red Velvet Cake Mix
• 1/2 C. Powdered Sugar
• Valentine Colored M&M’s
• Heart Sprinkles

Directions:
1. Measure out Rice Chex cereal and place into large bowl.
2. Place cake mix and powdered sugar into a large plastic bag or tupperware with a lid.
3. Melt chocolate chips together in the microwave for 30 second increments. Careful not to burn and stir until smooth.
4. Stir cream cheese and milk into the melted chocolate.
5. Pour chocolate over Rice Chex cereal and stir until coated.
6. Dump cereal into the bag or tupperware with powdered sugar and cake mix. Shake well.
7. Spread onto a cookie sheet and let cool.
8. Mix with M&M’s and sprinkles and serve!

Recipe from: www.yourcupofcake.com/2013/01/red-velvet-puppy-chow.html

Unique Sites For Valentine Gifts

Forget the flowers and chocolate this year! Instead, buy your valentine something unique and unexpected. Check out these cool sites for hand-made creations and other thoughtful gifts. If you can imagine it, they probably have it! Most of what you will find on these sites cannot be found in stores, which guarantees a unique gift for that special person on February 14th.

POPCHARTLAB.COM
For Her: The Compendious Coffee Chart
For Him: The Very Manly Varieties of Beer Stainless Steel Tumbler

ETSY.COM
For Him: Personalized Wooden Watch
For Her: Personalized Metal Keychain

OLIVEANDCOCOA.COM
For Her: French Grapefruit & Bergamot Spa Crate
For Him: Gentlemen’s Deluxe Shaving Set