2017-02-01 / Features

A message of love

By Kristin N. Compton

Three versions of St. Valentine have been theorized to have inspired the mushy, heartfelt holiday we recognize today popping up in mid-February each year, met by either overly optimistic glee or biting unadulterated disdain. Each recognized saint displayed his heart on his sleeve in his own form or fashion, and each love-struck Valentine was likewise martyred for his affectionate cause.

The saint we are most familiar with is rumored to have sent the first valentine, which was simply a love letter written to a girl whom he is said to have fallen in love with while behind bars (possibly the jailor’s daughter) just prior to his death, and signed, “From your Valentine.”

Whatever its origins, the practice of sending a “message of love” to the ones we care for on Valentine’s Day has stuck. The first handmade valentines in the US are believed to have been exchanged in the early 1700s, with Esther A. Howland prompting the first sale of mass-produced valentines in the 1840s. Valentine’s Day comes in just behind Christmas as the second largest card-sending holiday of the year, with approximately one billion valentines exchanging hands and hearts each Feb. 14!

Making your message known in any language…

English – “I love you”

French – “Je t’aime”

Spanish – Te amo”

Irish (Gaelic) – “Gráim thú”

Dutch – “Ik hou van jou”

German – “Ich liebe dich”

Italian – “Ti amo”

Portuguese – “Eu te amo”

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