Friday, February 13, 2015

Want to have a Conversation about Valentines

Today a staff member asked me how I would explain the origin of Valentine

From Online Etymology we find:

mid-15c., "sweetheart chosen on St. Valentine's Day," from Late Latin Valentinus, the name of two early Italian saints (from Latin valentia "strength, capacity;" see valence). Choosing a sweetheart on this day originated 14c. as a custom in English and French court circles. Meaning "letter or card sent to a sweetheart" first recorded 1824. The romantic association of the day is said to be from it being around the time when birds choose their mates.

Probably the date was the informal first day of spring in whatever French region invented the custom (many surviving medieval calendars reckon the start of spring on the 7th or 22nd of February). The custom of sending special cards or letters on this date flourished in England c.1840-1870, declined around the turn of the 20th century, and revived 1920s.

All of the students I work with understand that the red word <VALENCE> would lead us into a discussion and discovery of words with  connected meaning.  We could put together the following list of related words:


We would be forced to look into the word: prevalence

Being from Chicago, I am holding onto the Valentine wish that the first day of spring must be nearby. 


Happy Valentine's Day