Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentines' Day Folklore, Folktales & Folk Art

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. On Monday we will be celebrating one version or other of Valentine’s Day. Either we will be romancing a loved one or reminding a family member of friend how special they are to us.

In the world of folklore there are many ways to express your feelings.

You can sing someone a song, you can bake cookies, send chocolate and flowers, write someone a poem about a special memory or make and send a card with a personal message.

Before you get going, though, here’s some folklore about this February 14th tradition to give whatever you do more meaning:

Exact details about the 14th of February are not archived anywhere. It is only through legends that we have the St. Valentine’s Day story.

Said to be of both ancient Christina and Roman Traidtions, the holiday is believed to have originated from the fertility celebration of Lupercalis/Lupercalia that took place on February 15. Pagan holidays, such as this one took on new meaning under the rule of Christianity which dedicated celebrations to early Christina martyrs.

Records do show that Pope Gelasius, in 496 A.D. turned the celebration into a Christian feast day for Saint Valentine, a Roman martyr who lived in the 3rd century. And he changed the date from the 15th to the 14th.

For the Roman, Valentine’s Day traditions included men giving handwritten greetings of affection, known as Valentines, to the women they admired. In the 18th century, gift-giving and card exchanges became common in countries like England. Eventually these activities made their way to America and in the 1840’s Valentine's Day greeting cards began to be commercially produced in the U.S.

The more personal Valentine’s Day gifts, of course, are handmade/homemade. So think about writing a vignette that tells in folktale fashion how someone is your hero or heroine. If you have decided to give someone a special gift, tell them in a handmade card why that gift was chosen for them.

To help you with folk art ideas to accompany your folktale, here are a few sites that offer fun, free ideas:


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