If your kids ask why we celebrate Valentine’s Day, you can tell them that there is more to it than chocolates and roses. In fact, the rose is not really the official flower of Valentine’s Day.
One of our favorite Valentine’s Day books, Saint Valentine, presents the origin of Valentine’s Day by telling the story of the “humble and gentle” physician, Valentine, who lived in ancient Rome during the time when Christians were persecuted by the Romans. Robert Sabuda, known for his paper artistry through his pop-up books, wrote and lavishly illustrated Saint Valentine with intricate paper mosaics that capture the feel of ancient Christian art. This story of Valentine depicts him as a kind, caring, and unselfish man of great faith:
Prayer was an important part of Valentine’s life too. But where most people in the city prayed to the many Roman gods, Valentine, and a small group of others, prayed to a single God. The Romans did not like these people, called Christians, who worshiped only one God. Whenever anything bad happened in the city, the Romans almost always blamed the Christians, even if they had nothing to do with it. Sometimes the Christians were put in prison or killed.
Valentine used many different plants for medicinal purposes, and patients came to him often without the ability to pay for treatment. He took whatever they could offer him in exchange for his care, even if it was just a loaf of bread. In addition to the herbs he used to treat wounds and illnesses, Valentine always prayed for his patients. One special patient, a blind girl, plays a significant role in the story, along with her father, the jailer who guarded Valentine when he was imprisoned.
In our homeschool, I like to incorporate holiday books into our reading, especially if they increase our understanding of why we celebrate the holidays the way we do. This book is well-written, and the pictures are unbelievably detailed in their mosaic style.
My readers enjoy both the pictures and the story, but younger or more sensitive kids may be frightened by the theme of religious persecution and the resulting execution of St. Valentine. Saint Valentine also includes a historical section which further recounts the events surrounding Valentine, as well as explaining the other origins of Valentine’s Day which led to the celebration of love and St. Valentine on this holiday, with its special flower, the golden crocus.
Here’s a Valentine’s treat for you!
Click on the image below to get the how-to for this Valentine bento box. Enjoy it while you sit down to read about Saint Valentine.
Share your love with someone special. Click the image below for some Valentine cards you can print out and share.
We hope your Valentine’s day is full of love!
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