February - Valentine's Day and Much More
How did Valentine's Day Begin?
The origins of our modern Valentine’s Day are obscure. Perhaps Valentine's Day began as a pagan festival or perhaps it was a liturgical feast in celebration of the deaths of martyrs.There were possibly several St. Valentines who died on Feb.14. An order of Belgian monks spent 300 years collecting evidence for the lives of saints from manuscript archives. They compiled information about every saint on the liturgical calendar and printed the texts in order of the saints feast day. February 14 was the feast day for St. Valentine and the volume that included Feb. 14 contains the stories of a handful of “Valentines”.
At a time when Christians were persecuted or killed by the Roman emporor Gothicus, medieval legends had St. Valentine performing Christian marriage rituals and other romantic links. According to smithsonian.com, none of these medieval tales had any basis in third-century history.
The romantic elements came about centuries later. February is regarded as the “beginning of Spring” - birds mate and early Spring flowers bloom. At some point English and Europeans began to use Feb 14 to send notes and verses to a loved one. Since at least the 19th century, candy makers and card companies have joined the celebration, marketing their products for your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day.
Amethyst is the Birthstone for February
Deep purple amethyst is the birthstone for February, but amethyst can be found in a range of colors from pale lavender to deep purple. Chemically, amethyst is silicon dioxide or quartz. Amethyst is a highly valued stone and is widely used in jewelry. The word amethyst in Greek means "not drunken" and the stone was worn as an amulet against drunkenness.
Long ago, purple became synonymous with royalty - the color of kings. The color is due to iron impurities in the quartz. According to Geology.com, amethyst is the worlds most popular purple gemstone. Amethyst is found in many places, including the US and Canada. Gorgeous green amethyst generally comes about through irradiation or heat treatment. Ametrine is a color-zoned quartz - half amethyst and half citrine.