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Valentine's Day Writing Prompts
The most romantic holiday of the year is almost upon us. Valentine's Day is loved by those here in America, but it is especially loved by retailers. Vast amounts of money are spent on gifts such as roses, wine, chocolates, perfume, etc. by men and women looking for that special gift for their significant other.
When you first hear the words 'Valentine's Day', what if the first thing that pops into your head? Perhaps you think of Cupid armed with his bow and arrows flying around shooting people. Or maybe you think of flowers, chocolates, and hearts. Do you remember a special Valentine's gift that was given to you by that special someone? No matter what you think of, do you have any clue where this holiday came from and why we celebrate it on February 14?
The story I've always heard is that there was a Saint Valentine in Rome. This priest married people on the sly as Claudius II had outlawed marriage for those in the military at this time. He felt that if his soldiers were married, their minds would be on their families and not on protecting his kingdom; therefore, they wouldn't make very good soldiers. Saint Valentine didn't agree with this law and continued to marry those who would ask him. When Claudius found out about this, he had Valentine thrown in jail.
Claudius actually thought Valentine was a pretty nice guy until he refused to worship the Roman gods and see things his way about the ban on marriage. Claudius became so angry that he ordered the execution of Valentine. Supposedly his jailor had a daughter who was blind and Valentine did something for his daughter, some even say that he healed her. So, where does the Valentine's Day stuff come in? Well, while Valentine was awaiting execution, he is said to have sent a card to a lady friend that was signed, 'From your Valentine'. In some accounts this is said to have been the jailor's daughter, but no one is really sure.
There were also two other Saint Valentines at this time. One was a bishop and the other is a bit more of a mystery. The only thing known about him is that he died while in Africa. All three of these men were supposed to have been martyred on February 14. Is that why we celebrate Valentine's Day on February 14? Not really.
Lupercalia, an ancient Roman fertility festival, was celebrated on February 15. Pope Gelasius decided to turn this pagan holiday into a Christian holiday and declared that their fertility holiday now honored Saint Valentine and it was to be celebrated one day earlier on February 14.
Cupid had absolutely nothing to do with any of that, so where does he come into the picture? Venus, the goddess of love, had a son and his name was Cupid. Cupid fell madly in love with a beautiful mortal woman whose name was Psyche. I don't know whether or not he got his mom's permission or even if his mom knew about his love for Psyche, but he married this human lady. Venus became insanely jealous and transformed into any lady's worst nightmare of a mother-in-law. She forbid Psyche to so much as glance at her handsome new husband. Psyche, of course, couldn't resist and Venus gave her three really hard tasks to complete as punishment; she died attempting to do the final one. Cupid was a bit distraught over his new wife's death, so he brought her back to life. The other gods were amazed at the love shared between these two and granted Psyche immortal life.
Now for some writing prompts. Look at Saint Valentine, the man who is supposed to be the inspiration for this holiday. Since there were three Saint Valentines, you could make up a story about each one of them and what they each supposedly did. My favorite one, the one who really makes me curious, is the one who apparently met his end in Africa. Why was he in Africa? Was he sent there by the church? Or did he follow someone there? Could he have been the inspiration for this holiday because of the reason he went to this foreign country?
Saint Valentine's jailor had a daughter. According to legend, she is the one who had the affections of Saint Valentine, but what if the one who caused his heart to beat just a bit faster was the daughter of Claudius II? Could this be the reason that the emperor really had him thrown in jail?
You could make a modern day Cupid and Psyche, only reverse the roles of the two. Make Cupid a mortal and Psyche an immortal goddess. What is her story? How did she first meet Cupid? Did either of her parents not like her becoming involved with this mortal man?
Your story that centers on Valentine's Day doesn't have to focus on love. It could focus on a tragedy or it could focus on a crime of some kind. You could even have zombies, vampires, or werewolves in your story. Cupid and Psyche could be vampires. That would definitely be different. Whatever you decide to write, let your imagination run wild and have fun with it.
Do you have any writing prompts for Valentine's Day that you would like to share? Visit us in the forum and tell us what they are.
Content copyright © 2013 by Lisa Binion. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Lisa Binion. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Lisa Binion for details.
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