Released: February 15, 2009

Retired: February 16, 2009

VFK Valentine's Day and Washington's Birthday Quest


Welcome to the Valentine's Day and Washington's Birthday Quest! Valentine's Day and Washington's Birthday (the official name of President's Day) are close together this year. Valentine's Day is always February 14th. The date of George Washington's Birthday varies due to the 1968 Monday Holidays Act which places the official day at the third Monday in February. The third Monday can fall anywhere between February 15th and 21st. This means that Valentine's Day always occurs after Lincoln's Birthday, February 12th, and before Washington's Birthday, February 22nd yet never coincides with either. For our quest today, we will explore the history of these February holidays.


Name Price Location Released/Retired Photo Notes
1000 Credits Released: May 22, 2008 Credits
Washington Crossing the Delaware Hat Quest Prize VFK Valentine's Day and Washington's Birthday Quest Released: February 15, 2009

Retired: February 16, 2009

Hat 38 1


1. Saint Valentine's Day, a holiday honoring love, is celebrated February 14. Sending greeting cards or gifts to express affection is the traditional method of celebrating the holiday. The cards, or "valentines", are usually decorated with hearts to symbolize love and carry messages of caring and endearment. The origins of Valentine's Day are not well documented. It is believed to be derived from what ancient Roman feast?

  • Lupercalia
  • Samhain
  • Beltane
  • Ostara

2. Valentine's Day gradually became associated with the feast day (February 14) of two Roman martyrs, both named St. Valentine, who lived in the 3rd century. One martyr was a Roman Christian who according to tradition was martyred during the persecution of Christians by Emperor Claudius II on February 14, 270. The other martyr named Valentine, was bishop of Terni, a region in present-day central Italy. They have both been suggested as the inspiration for our modern holiday of Saint Valentine's Day. St. Valentine has traditionally been regarded as the patron saint of people in love. Go to the underwater observation room down the steps of the Sydney Opera House in Australia and say this quote by St. Augustine, "Better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all."

3. Although reference books abound with mention of Roman festivals from which Valentine's Day may be derived, it has been shown that no evidence exists to support these connections and that Chaucer is most likely the first to link the saint's day with the custom of choosing sweethearts. No link between the day and lovers exists before the time of Chaucer and several literary contemporaries also mention it, but after them the link becomes widespread, a circumstance that makes it seem likely that Chaucer invented the tradition. What was the name of Geoffrey Chaucer's work from which this tradition is "created?"

  • High Courtly Love
  • Chaucer's Love Birds
  • Antiquaries
  • Parliament of Foules

4. The fullest and perhaps earliest description of the tradition of choosing sweethearts occurs in Chaucer's Parlement of Foules. Composed around 1380, it described the belief that birds began to mate on this day. On the eve of Saint Valentine's day, young people used to meet, and each of them drew lots from a number of names, which were put into a common receptacle. Each gentleman thus got a lady for his valentine, and became the valentine of a lady. Go to outside the livery stable in Western Age and say this quote by Chaucer: "An ear it heard, at the other out it went."

5. Some of the oldest American valentines to be seen in the United States were sent to Miss Ester A. Howland. Miss Howland's father and brothers ran a large stationary business. Miss Howland saw the potential in these cards. She improved upon the ones she'd received and created some sample valentines. When her brother went on his next trip, she asked if he would try to get orders for them. She was surprised when he returned with orders amounting to how much money?

  • 200 dollars
  • 575 dollars
  • 2500 dollars
  • 5000 dollars

6. She was not prepared for so many orders, and they were far more than she could fill on her own. After talking the matter over with her father and brothers, however, they devised a plan to fill the orders. Miss Howland ordered some fancy papers and pictures, invited some friends, put together a small assembly line and fulfilled the orders. The oldest known valentine that is still in existence today was written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife. Charles was in the Tower of London when he wrote this valentine. Go to the Gate in Medieval age and say this line of poetry by Elizabeth Barrett Browning "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways."

7. Washington's Birthday finds its origins back with one of our founding fathers and first President, George Washington. Born on February 22, 1732, Washington was in his last full year as president when the day became the holiday known as Washington's Birthday. Americans didn't observe Washington's Birthday, however, until 1832, 100 years after he was borne. Abraham Lincoln, the next President to gain admiration similar to Washington was born on February 12, 1809. Although his birthday was not honored at the federal level with a celebration, like Washington's, many states decided to make it a legal holiday. When was the holiday, Lincoln's Birthday first celebrated?

  • 1862
  • 1865
  • 1894
  • 1968

8. Washington's Birthday was the first federal holiday to recognize an American citizen. In the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an Act of Congress amended that certain holidays would be moved to Mondays. The Act changed Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day and Veteran's day from an actual calendar date to coincide with Monday. It also created a new holiday. The purpose of changing the dates for these holidays was primarily to assure that there would be a number of three-day weekends for their federal Employees. This act did not establish Presidents Day nor did it combine them into one. Go to the dark forest room in Audubon's Wildlife Adventure game and say this quote by George Washington. Say, "We ought not to look back"

9. Washington's Birthday is the official name designated for the day also commonly known as President's Day. Much of the debate over the name of the holiday is founded upon the fact that state's can follow their own holidays how they see fit, and many of them chose to also honor President Lincoln on the same day, therefore calling the celebration President's Day. How many states have renamed Washington's Birthday to President's Day, or something similar to honor all of the U.S. presidents?

  • Sixteen
  • Two
  • All Fifty
  • Twelve

10. In 1968 the term President's Day came up for legal consideration in the U.S. Congress, but was not passed. The holiday, however, was moved to fall between the two President's birthdays. Again in the 1980's, advertisers solidified the holiday name in American culture. Today, most Americans call the holiday President's Day in lieu of Washington's Birthday. Go to the Medieval Gate House and say another quote by George Washington: "True friendship is a plant of slow grow."


1. Lupercalia

2. Go to the Underwater Observation Room and say, "Better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all."

3. Parliament of Foules

4. Go to Livery Stable and say, "An ear it heard, at the other out it went."

5. 5000 dollars

6. Go to the Castle Gate and say, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways."

7. 1865

8. Go to the Dark Forest and say, "We ought not to look back".

9. Twelve

10. Go to the Gate House and say, "True friendship is a plant of slow grow."

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