Valentine's Day February 14thValentine's Day is the big day set aside for lovers.
On February 14 around the year 278 A.D., Valentine, a holy priest in Rome in the days of Emperor Claudius II, was executed.
Under the rule of Claudius the Cruel, Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody campaigns. The emperor had to maintain a strong army, but was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. Claudius believed that Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families.
To get rid of the problem, Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.
When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Valentine was arrested and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. The sentence was carried out on February 14, on or about the year 270.
Legend also has it that while in jail, St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer's daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it "From Your Valentine."
For his great service, Valentine was named a saint after his death.
In truth, the exact origins and identity of St. Valentine are unclear. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, "At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under the date of 14 February." One was a priest in Rome, the second one was a bishop of Interamna (now Terni, Italy) and the third St. Valentine was a martyr in the Roman province of Africa.
Legends vary on how the martyr's name became connected with romance. The date of his death may have become mingled with the Feast of Lupercalia, a pagan festival of love. On these occasions, the names of young women were placed in a box, from which they were drawn by the men as chance directed. In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius decided to put an end to the Feast of Lupercalia, and he declared that February 14 be celebrated as St Valentine's Day.
Gradually, February 14 became a date for exchanging love messages, poems and simple gifts such as flowers and Italian cookies.
St. Valentine lived in Rome - he was Italian - so we know he loved Italian Cookies! Send some to your valentine.
Cookie Gift for your Valentine.
THIS MONTH'S COOKIE RECIPE
I discovered that sugar free jam just doesn't work - it gets all runny. Just use real butter and real jam and eat fewer cookies - if you can!
Big Thumbprint Butter Cookies
Using your hands, roll the dough into golf-ball-sized balls and arrange them 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.
DID YOU KNOW?
La cucina is also the hub of Italian family life. It is the place where family members first meet in the morning to exchange greetings for the day. It is the room where la famiglia (family) enters when everyone comes home at the end of the day; the place where the children drop off their books after school as they enter the house. It contains the table where the mail is left by a family member after it is delivered. A section of the counter may have a bowl of fruit and several types of bread ready to be shared at dinner.
La cucina often serves as the place where informal company is entertained with all kinds of goodies and pietanze (snacks) and coffee and cake or cookies. It is the room where conversations are held and important decisions are made over una bella tazza d'espresso (a good cup of espresso).
La cusina is usually a comfortable room in most Italian homes where much of a person's life is lived and much of a mother's love is given to her family and her friends.
By the way - If you want to view a short video on St. Valentine's Day click this link or copy it into your browser: http://link.history.com/services/link/bcpid6555686001/bclid1672160848/bctid1407959235
Till next time - have happy days.
Arrivederci - Dio ti benedica