2008 42¢ Wedding Heart
Issue Date: June 10, 2008
City: Washington, DC
Hearts are recognized around the world as the universal symbol of love. Often red in color to signify passion, the origin of the heart-shaped symbol is uncertain. The Catholic Church teaches that the first heart symbol appeared in the 17th century. It was then that Saint Margaret Marie Alacoque saw in a dream the Sacred Heart surrounded by a crown of thorns. Others maintain the shape was an attempt to draw the human heart long before that time.
The heart shape gained popularity during the Victorian Era because of an increased interest in Valentine’s Day. The Duke of Orleans sent the first Valentine’s Day message to his wife in 1415, while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
According to legend, the February holiday honors a priest named Valentine. When Rome’s Emperor Claudius II banned marriage because he felt single men made better soldiers, Valentine defied the order and secretly performed many weddings. St. Valentine lost his life in Rome about 270 A.D. for his good deeds.
Weddings are the outward declaration of love, an emotion described by Aristotle, who wrote: “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”
Hearts, the symbol of love and marriage, have been chosen for 2008 one-ounce stamp in the Wedding Series.