We’ve all heard of the “Aha!” moment – when you have a realization. We’re having that, plus an “Ahava” moment about Valentine’s Day, and February in general. In case you don’t know, “Ahava” means “love” in Hebrew, and idea celebrated in lots of our original jewelry designs.
Judaica-inspired jewelry is, of course, our passion, and we’ve been asking ourselves if Valentine’s Day is really our kind of thing, thinking that February 14 is a Christian holiday. However, even a quick browse of our Encyclopedia Brittanica has us laughing out loud. Here are a few highlights of what we’ve learned about Valentine’s Day:
- First, let’s start with the word “February”. Named after strips of goat-skin, called “februa” in Latin. On February 15, as part of the pagan Lupercalia Festival, young men named Luperci, named for the cave where the she-wolf nursed Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome, would charge around the city, snapping these leather strips at random women. Some historians suggest that this fertility festival pre-dated Roman civilization.
- (We’re hoping this was done in a spirit of, well, fun—sort of like being playfully snapped with a wet towel at the pool? We’re not sure.)
- Apparently, Roman women believed that a snap from one of these leather straps would prevent infertility. Okay…
- February was named after the “februa”, or leather strips—and February was the last month of the old Roman year. So, perhaps it was all a party-atmosphere.
How did we get from this scene described above to lacy love-letters, romantic roses and heart-shaped boxes chocolates? Speaking as a nice Jewish girl, with almost six thousand years of monotheisim behind me, I’m really not sure. The involvement of a genuine Christian saint in this holiday also seems a bit sketchy here—remind me to do more research!
Meanwhile, let’s just stick with the idea of human AHAVA. No ritual whippings with pieces of goat-leather, and no mama wolves, please. Maybe just a nice little bracelet—a current favorite is our #NhhW, a modern heart-shape in gold-tone or silver-tone, set on a dainty link-chain of semi-precious gem beads—you can choose tourmaline, garnet, iolite, pearl or amethyst beads. The slightly organic shapes of these mineral beads (they are not perfectly round) give this bracelet a really sensuous, handmade, artistic feel. Or choose whatever says “I love you.”