Northwest NEWS

February 7, 2000

Front Page

Cooleys

Mr. & Mrs. Lee Cooley: "A wonderful 43 years."

Brown

Karen Brown: "It's an opportunity to express your love to your family."

Roses are red, violets are blue, what does St. Valentine's Day mean to you?

by Carol Edwards & Becky Nixon

   On Monday, February 14, millions of cards with red hearts and Cupids, flowers, pieces of jewelry, lingerie, boxes of candy, and stuffed animals, along with tender and caring messages, will be exchanged between people of all ages as part of St. Valentine's Day.

   How did this all start?

   "As with many customs, the origin of St. Valentine's Day is shrouded in mystery," said Lawrence Cunninghame, Ph.D., University of Notre Dame.

   "Archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to St. Valentine," Cunninghame said, noting that there may have been more than one Valentine.

   "Ancient accounts tell the tales of two martyrs named Valentine who were executed on February 14 sometime during the third century A.D. One was a Roman priest and the other was the Bishop of Terni, a city about 50 miles away from Rome. Scholars have two main theories to explain how February 14 became associated with romance:

   "Therory I: The middle of February was the time of the ancient Roman Feast of Lupercalia, a pagan fertility celebration. Maidens would write love notes and deposit them in a large urn. The men of Rome would pick notes from the urn and then court the girls whose messages they had drawn.

   "Theory II: People began sending love notes on Valentine's Day in the late Middle Ages. Medieval Europeans believed that birds began to mate on February 14 and wished to emulate them.

   "Both theories blend fact and fancy, so it is impossible to separate them," said Cunninghame, noting that the first paper valentines date back to the mid-1800s, when Esther A. Howland produced one of the first commercial American valentines in the 1840s and sold $5,000 worth the first year.

Redman

Kevin Redman, passing through Duvall on his way to Wenatchee, said, "It's special between my wife and I:
'Here's to the roses and lilies in bloom
To you in my arms and I in your room
To a door that is locked and a key that is lost
And a bird, and a bottle, and a bed badly tossed
And a night that is fifty years long.'"

Dorning

Ken Dorning: "The love of my wife and kids."

Rusi

Alexia Rusi: "I like it. I get lots of candy."

Federspeil

Donald Federspeil: "My wife."