February 12, 2016
When I was younger, Valentine’s Day was a day I anticipated with joy and elation. After all, who doesn’t like to give and receive treats and gifts of love? Even now as an adult I still love to decorate, make handcrafted cards and bake cookies for loved ones. Additionally, passing along these special customs and seeing my children’s happiness in the celebration is even more of a gift. Of course, we don’t need a special day devoted to telling those we love that they are admired and adored, but it sure doesn’t hurt!
We know that February is the month dedicated to sweethearts, but just how much do you know about the history of Valentine’s Day and its patron saint? The legends are vast as to who Saint Valentine was and why a day was dedicated to him. What we do know includes remnants of both Roman and Christian customs. Due to his reputation, by the Middle Ages Valentine had become one of the most popular saints in England and France, and judging by the stats today – nearly $19 billion will be spent on Valentine’s Day in America this year and approximately 150 million cards will be exchanged annually (second only to Christmas) – Valentine sure left his mark!
Speaking of Valentine’s cards, The British Library in London holds the oldest Valentine still in existence, which is a French poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife as he was being held prisoner in The Tower of London. Additionally, the oldest Valentine written in English was by a woman named Margery Brews from Norfolk, UK in 1477 and remains in the same library.
Aside from the history, the day itself is definitely a welcomed respite from these cold, glum lingering days of winter. I recently spoke to Annelise about her Danish Valentine’s Day and Fastelavn traditions. She said that enjoying fastelavnsboller (Fastelavn sweet bun) is a must Denmark. Also, the charming tradition of making gaekkebrev (funny love poem) and even including a snowdrop (known as the first flower of spring) is a very endearing gesture, and that making homemade Fastelavnsris (Fastelavn gifts) is a favorite of her children. (Danish hearts are one of their favorite, you can find some amazing tutorials here.)
However you may celebrate Valentine’s Day and Fastelavn (which was last weekend) I hope you enjoy all of your favorite traditions! Visit these Fastelavn and Danish Valentine Pinterest pages for inspiration, history and recipes, including many very cool paper heart tutorials here.
Don’t forget to enter this month’s giveaway to win $50 from Kirsten’s Danish Bakery
“More than just breakfast items and bakery, Kirsten’s Danish Bakery serves up fresh breads, lunches, Award Winning Kringle, along with special made to order cakes and pastry trays. Kirsten’s Danish Bakery is not just another local baker, they’re the new standard where taste meets creative decoration and a welcoming atmosphere provides a sugary escape any time of day.”