Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Origins of Valentine's Day

Saint Valentine's Day is celebrated in many countries around the world, but not all of them. This holiday is also known as Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, and is observed on February 14 each year. 
St. Valentine's Day began as an early Christian celebration of a saint named Valentinus. Several martyrdom stories have been invented for various Valentines that belonged to February 14, and added to later martyr legends. A popular story of Saint Valentine of Rome states that he was imprisoned because he performed weddings for soldiers who were not allowed to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. According to legend, during his imprisonment, he healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius. An embellishment to this story states that before he was executed he wrote her a letter signed "Your Valentine" as a farewell. Today, Saint Valentine's Day is an official feast day in the Anglican Communion and in the Lutheran Church. The Eastern Orthodox Church also celebrates Saint Valentine's Day, but on July 6 and July 30, the former date in honor of the Roman presbyter Saint Valentine, and the latter date in honor of Hieromartyr Valentine, the Bishop of Interamna (modernTerni). In Brazil, they celebrate the Dia de São Valentim on June 12.

The day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). In Europe, Saint Valentine's Keys are given to lovers "as a romantic symbol and an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart", as well as to children, in order to ward off Saint Valentine's Malady. Valentine's Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.
Now we have Valentine's Day as we know it. A day that originated so long ago, and was so vastly different from what it has become. But that seems to be with most things, especially holidays. 
I guess as they say, "The only thing that stays the same is everything changes".

Friday, January 16, 2015

Have you ever been curious about what types of trees are in Big Bear? We have a plethora of different types. The trees in our beloved community are a huge part of what makes Big Bear so beautiful and the air so crisp and clean. They are what give our native critters shelter and even food. They cover the valley in beauty and are a treat to our eyes. They are the perches for birds that sing a beautiful tune as well as our National bird, the bald eagle. The eagles will actually nest in the tops of trees that surround the lake, while they hunt for food within the lake. If you ever look up and see a high tree with bald branches at the top, that means it’s an eagles perch or nest. Trees are so important to this place we call home.

The Coulter pine also known as the big-cone pine got its name after Thomas Coulter, an Irish physician and botanist. This tree is a native of the mountains that run along the coast of Southern California and down to the northern areas of Baja California. Its binomial name is Pinus coulteri. There are isolated groves that are found as far north as the San Francisco Bay Area in Mt. Diablo State Park and Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve.

The wood on the Coulter Pine is weak and soft so it is not used for much else than firewood when cut.

This is just one of many different beautiful trees that we have up here. Be sure to check out the following link for more info on native trees in our San Bernardino mountians!