14 Facts About Feb 14th 529

Many think of Valentine’s Day as just a day commemorating Cupid and love or a Hallmark holiday.  Have you ever wondered how this day dedicated to love came to be? There are a lot of stories and symbolism related to the celebration of Valentines Day.  We have done our research and selected 14 fun and interesting facts about the February 14th.

It has Pagan Roots

Historians believe Valentine’s Day began in Ancient Rome as a pagan festival called Lupercalia. Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus. The festival began with members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, gathering at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood pool and take to the streets, whipping the women with the goat hide. Although painful, Roman women welcomed the slap of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile.

It officially became a holiday associated with love and romance

Lupercalia was outlawed at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.

There are a few Saint Valentines

The Catholic Church recognizes a few different saints named Valentine, all of whom were martyred. One legend of Valentine is he was a Roman priest who served during the third century. At this time, Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage because he thought single men made better soldiers. Valentine was appalled by this and thought it would be best to keep performing marriages for young couples in love in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. After he was sentenced to his death, young couples would visit his cell and give him flowers and cards. And the day he died? February 14. Allegedly. Another story suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl who visited him during his confinement. Before his execution, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine”.  Although the details behind the Valentine legends are not crystal clear, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, romantic figure. By the Middle Ages Valentine would become one of the most beloved saints in England and France.


You can celebrate Valentine’s Day several times a year

Because of the abundance of St. Valentines on the Roman Catholic roster, you can choose to celebrate the saint multiple times each year. Besides February 14, you might decide to celebrate St. Valentine of Viterbo on November 3. Or maybe you want to get a jump on the traditional Valentine celebration by feting St. Valentine of Raetia on January 7. Women might choose to honor the only female St. Valentine (Valentina), a virgin martyred in Palestine on July 25, A.D. 308. The Eastern Orthodox Church officially celebrates St. Valentine twice, once as an elder of the church on July 6 and once as a martyr on July 30.


You can find Valentine’s skull in Rome

The flower-adorned skull of St. Valentine is on display in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome. In the early 1800s, the excavation of a catacomb near Rome yielded skeletal remains and other relics now associated with St. Valentine. As is customary, these bits and pieces of the late saint’s body have subsequently been distributed to reliquaries around the world. You’ll find other bits of St. Valentine’s skeleton on display in the Czech Republic, Ireland, Scotland, England and France.

The first valentines were sent in the 15th century

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois

Esther Howland is the first manufacturer of Valentines

Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Before Howland commercialized them, American valentines were less romantic and more comic. Her inspiration came from the thoughtful and sweet greeting cards that were circulating in England and she decided to sell similar designs in the U.S.

Americans now send millions of  Valentine’s Day cards each year

By the 19th century printed cards were widely available. Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year second to Christmas. Teachers receive the most Valentine’s Day cards annually, followed  closely by children, then mothers, wives and significant others.

The Heart is the Symbol of Love

If you ever wondered why everywhere you look on Valentine’s Day there are hearts all around, it’s because it’s a belief in the Christian faith that the heart is the seat of all emotions, especially love. And since love is the dominant feeling of the day, the heart is now a great symbol of the holiday. Wearing your heart on your sleeve is more than just a phrase. In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their Valentine would be. According to the Smithsonian, they would wear this name pinned onto their sleeves for one week so that everyone would know their true feelings. This was the origin of the expression “to wear your heart on your sleeve.”


The most popular gift on Valentine’s Day is flowers

The favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess is the red rose. The rose bud stands for strong romantic feelings, so it’s no surprise they make up the most popular Valentine’s Day bouquets. Approximately 50 million roses are received on Valentine’s Day around the world, making it the most popular gift followed by chocolate and then jewelry.


The Heart Shaped box has been around for more than 140 years

In addition to creating arguably the richest, creamiest, and sweetest chocolate on the market, Richard Cadbury also introduced the first box of Valentine’s Day chocolates in 1868, According to History.com. Today, more than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are sold each year. That’s 58 million pounds of chocolate. According to the National Confectioners Association, caramels are the most popular flavor in chocolate boxes, followed by chocolate-covered nuts, chocolate-filled, cream-filled, and coconut.


Necco Sweethearts date back to early 1900’s

In 1847, Boston pharmacist Oliver Chase invented a machine that simplified the lozenge production process, resulting in the first candy-making machine, according to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. After identifying an opportunity to revolutionize the candy business, Chase shifted his focus to candy production with Necco wafers.  It wasn’t until 15 years after the creation of Necco wafers that Daniel Chase’s brother, Oliver Chase, developed a way to press words onto the candy lozenges with a felt roller pad and vegetable food coloring. According to The Huffington Post, the conversation candies officially became heart-shaped in 1902. Now more than 8 billion conversation hearts are manufactured each year.  Necco must start making them just days after February 14 to have enough in time for the next Valentine’s Day. Each box has approximately 45 sayings and ten new saying are added every year.


Cupid, Who?

Cupid is not just a chunky, naked baby with wings, and a bow and an arrow. Cupid is the son of Venus, the god of beauty and love, of course he became the symbol of love and romance.   Named after the Latin word for “desire” (cupido), legend says that Cupid can cause a victim to fall in love just by shooting a golden arrow into his or her heart.


Not all Countries Celebrate the same….

*Finland calls Valentine’s Day-  Ystävänpäivä, which translates into ‘Friend’s day’. It’s all about celebrating your friends rather than your partner.  * In Japan, it’s customary for just the women to give confections to the men in their lives, with the quality of the chocolate indicating their true feelings, according to Fortune. On March 14, the men repay the favor by celebrating the increasingly popular “White Day.  *Lovebirds flock to Bangkok’s Bangrak district, Thailand’s “Village of Love” to be married on Valentine’s Day. They believe the aptly named village will ensure them a long-lasting marriage, and they begin lining up outside the Bangrak district office in the wee hours of the morning.  *Each year, the city of Verona receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet on Valentine’s Day. Verona is where Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet lived.  *The concept of Saint Valentine’s keys is famous throughout Europe. People give keys to their lovers “as a romantic symbol and an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart”. In some parts of Europe, Valentine’s Day, also known as the Feast of Saint Valentine, is celebrated on July 6 and July 30.



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“March”ing into Spring 57

March is finally here, we have made it through the grueling gray days of February and spring is fast approaching. Mark your calendars, Spring will formally arrive at 5:58 pm on Wednesday, March 20th.  This year you can start celebrating spring on Long Island in the early days of March. With Easter being nearly a month later this year we are in for four weekends of St. Patrick’s Day parades and events followed immediately by Spring and Easter celebrations. A late Easter also means Egg hunts and bunny sightings will likely be much warmer than last year!  


Here is our list of March’s family entertainment options in Suffolk county. Click links below for event details, reservations and tickets:

St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations – Various locations
All month
Across Long Island locals celebrate Irish heritage in grand style.

Ring of Fire and Miles of Tiles — Port Jefferson
Through March 24
These two new Long Island Explorium exhibits are designed to inspire childhood math fluency.

Trout Unlimited Fishing Clinic & Suncatchers — Oakdale
Saturday, March 10
Trout Unlimited  9:00 am – 12:00 pm
In this traditional March event, kids 3 and older can learn to fly fish at Connetquot River State Park with the help of Trout Unlimited experts.
Suncatchers  1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Discover interesting facts about the sun and why we cannot live without it. Then you will create a unique craft that will capture rays from the sun and transform them into many brilliant colors to brighten up your home. Please call Caleb Smith State Park Preserve for more information and reservations. (631) 265 – 1054

The Three Little Kittens — Port Jefferson
Saturdays, March 2, 9, 16, 23; Sundays, March 3 (sensory sensitive), March 17
These three kittens may have to find their mittens—but what they really want is to be a singing trio. Teaming up with a show business hound (Barker Doggone), Lucy, Ricky and Ethel embark on an adventure with the well-meaning penguin Waddles Greenway to thwart a rascally rabbit Harry Hoppit. Together they learn that friendship is the greatest bond and that dreams really can come true.

Into the Woods In Concert — Patchogue
Friday, March 8- Saturday, March 9
Patchogue Theatre’s Broadway Series invites you to immerse yourself in the beautiful music of Stephen Sondheim with this Tony Award-winning musical “in concert” experience, directed by Grammy & Emmy Award-winner John McDaniel! Backed by a 15 piece orchestra, Into The Woods “In Concert” takes you on a journey through the popular tales of the brothers Grimm

Treasure That Trash — Stony Brook
Saturday, March 9-Saturday, March 30
Many artists from across Long Island will participate with their intricate masterpieces cultivated from a desire to preserve the environment while nurturing their passion for art. Works are created from common items such as recycled materials, beach trash, paint, wood, and more. (631) 689-5888

Historic House Tours — Connetquot State Park, Oakdale
Sunday, March 17
Step back in time as you tour the Main House of the South Side Sportsmen’s Club. A docent will discuss the history of the tavern and the high society Sportsmen’s Club which shaped Connetquot River State Park Preserve into what it is today. Reservations are suggested: (631) 581 -1072

Should the weather not yet be warm enough for you to play outside,  check out our picks for indoor activities.  

May the Road Rise to Meet Ye 5k & St Patrick’s Day Parade 41

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be Sunday, March 17

Patchogue’s Parade is unique in that it starts with the annual running of the May the Road Rise to Meet Ye 5k at 11:55am with the parade following immediately.

Click Here to register for the 5k

Or download registration form

This years Grand Marshal is Paula Murphy. Paula is the Chair of our Foundations’ Beautification Committee, among many community endeavors.

The Parade runs along Main Street from Route 112 east to West Avenue.

If you are interested in entering the parade, click here for terms and registration form 

The parade is run by the Village of Patchogue Parks & Recreation Department.


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