…OF LUPERCALIA AND LOVE

in jewish gifts, jewish holiday

Open Heart Braceletcbb02rose

 

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 heart cable bracelet, a modern cable bracelet with three diamond hearts and comes in gold, silver, rose or black.  The slightly organic shapes of these bracelets (they are not perfectly round) give this bracelet a really sensuous, handmade, artistic feel. Or choose whatever says “I love you.”

Cable Heart Bracelet Cable Heart Bracelet

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

alissa February 6, 2011 at 10:30 am

I was always wondering the history of Valentine’s Day!

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Chaviva February 6, 2011 at 10:33 am

Beautiful jewelry! Saw you’re tweet 🙂

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Karen Rubin Brown February 6, 2011 at 10:50 am

Those are beautiful!!! I would love to win one of these. My oldest son is sort of rediscovering his Judaism I guess you could say and it would be wonderful to give him one of these for him to give to his girlfriend…who I suspect in the next couple of years will become his wife 🙂

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jewishstarjewelry February 6, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Everyone receives a ring! There’s no winner per say, it is until we give out all of our rings for Valentine’s day. We’d love it if you would forward our blog and website to others who’d be interested!

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Bonnie February 6, 2011 at 10:57 am

Yes its true many if not all “christian” holidays sadly have their roots in paganism. I agree that ahava is something to celebrate and share. Love makes the world go round! So share some love with friends ,a special someone, or family this feb 14th!

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AudreyGS February 6, 2011 at 11:26 am

Love that ahava necklace at the top! Interesting factoids, I’ve always thought of “St. Valentine’s” day as a Christian festival.

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Cris D. February 6, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Super excited about your blog! Enjoyed the “Ahava” moment information as well!

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Dani February 6, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Wow, thanks for the interesting history lesson! I love the beautiful jewelry too! Hope your February is full of Ahava! <3

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Chantal February 6, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Nothing quite says love more than being whipped by goat skin… Ugh! Beautiful jewels! Sending ahava to you! No need to send me anything, just wanted to look and say hi! Xo

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Joanna February 7, 2011 at 7:34 am

Knew the history of St. Valentine, whipping strips was all new to me. I see the connection–not having a sweetheart on Valentine’s Day kind of feels like that sometimes. But an ‘Ahavah’ ring would make anyone feel better! Love your wares! 🙂

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Phyllis P February 7, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Never knew the history, Thanks for the lesson. Learn something new every day.

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Blanche Martha February 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm

you really make the moset beautiful jewelry! thanks for the history lesson!

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Kayla February 7, 2011 at 1:57 pm

My daugher’s name is Ahava. We just recently bought her a necklace from you with her hebrew name on block the letters. I want to get her the necklace on the top of this post. I love it!!!

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Chelsea February 7, 2011 at 2:10 pm

I absolutely love this post. Alefbet jewelry is meaningful in every little piece created, I love everything about this company!

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Amy Sue Nathan February 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm

I’ve purchased from you in the past – nice to see you out there in cyberspace. As for Valentine’s Day – nowadays it’s Hallmark holiday, like Halloween. Very little historical or religious meaning. I say flowers, chocolate AND jewelry are appropriate.

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Krystal February 7, 2011 at 2:40 pm

I have always loved the phrase, “Ani le dodi ve dodi li” (I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine). That, to me, says “love”.

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Lisa Ager Wallace February 7, 2011 at 3:01 pm

I discuss Valentine’s Day elementary schoolers every year. I read a story about a little boy who hates that a little girl in his class has a huge crush on him. She follows him around, sits with him and brings him things.! It’s not until she moves away that he deeply misses her and “feels the love”! Of course, she moves back and he is elated! The kids love the story!!! Then I tell my students that I always love jewelry as a gift for Valentine’s Day! I bring out my most gaudy rhinestone necklace and bracelet set from the ’80s! We all have a good laugh!

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LindsE February 7, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Since we started dating, my hubby and I never celebrated V-day…beyond the religious thing, we mainly can’t stand how commercial it is! Groundhog’s day, now that is ROMANTIC!!! A lot easier to get restaurant reservations as well. 🙂

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Nicole February 7, 2011 at 5:00 pm

I will only buy evil eye bracelets from here!!

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audrey February 7, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I love the unique jewelry this sight has to offer. Really enjoyed reading the post on Ahavah!

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Lisa February 7, 2011 at 6:18 pm

You make my favorite jewelry!!!

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jewishstarjewelry February 7, 2011 at 9:11 pm

thx!

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Jennifer February 7, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Valentine’s Day is for all! I view the day as a extra chance to celebrate life and love which are two major parts of our human essence. Thank you for sharing the history of this holiday with us.

The “Ahava”/“love” ring is absolutely beautiful. It’s a reminder that if we give love and share love it will always circle back to us.

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barbara February 7, 2011 at 7:56 pm

I love Valentines Day! I think it’s a great time to show my family how much I love them. My husband and I usually celebrate our Valentine’s day on the 16th, though, because that’s the anniversary of our first date.

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Lisa Ager Wallace February 7, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Hello! I discuss Valentine’s Day with my elementary schoolers every year. I read a story about a little boy who hates that a little girl in his class has a huge crush on him. She follows him around, sits with him and brings him things.! It’s not until she moves away that he deeply misses her and “feels the love”! She sends him cards from her travels and tells him she sends her love in many different languages….Of course, she moves back and he is elated! The kids love the story!!! Then I have a list of how to say the word “love” in the languages of all of the children who have attended the school. I am outside the Washington, DC area, so you can imagine how many words are on the list! I love “talking” jewelry! Thanks for the additional interesting info. (:

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jewishstarjewelry February 7, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Great story! What’s the name of the book!!!?

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Casey February 7, 2011 at 8:57 pm

I love your jewelry and the blog! I still wear my Hamsa bracelet daily without taking it off, that I purchased a few years ago in black! Awesome quality! Your store is awesome!

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Sara February 10, 2011 at 6:24 am

You learn something new every day! I guess the flowers, chocolate & jewelry of today are to make up for the whippings of yesteryear!! I love the day AFTER because that’s when all the candy goes on sale. Lol

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jewishstarjewelry February 10, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Don’t forget to email us your address and we’ll send out your ring! info@alefbet.com

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Jill February 10, 2011 at 10:13 am

I never knew the meaning behind the month of February. Thanks for sharing. Sounds a little bit like tefillin.

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Paula Javaherian February 10, 2016 at 8:13 pm

How can I purchase these?

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Alef Bet Jewelry February 11, 2016 at 8:48 am

They are on the website: http://www.alefbet.com
You should be able to click on the image and it takes you to the exact website page. Thank you.

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