Saint Valentine’s Day, commonly shortened to Valentine’s Day, is a holiday observed on February 14 honoring one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionary, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”). The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages when the tradition of courtly love flourished. It was first established by Pope Gelasius 1 in 496 AD, and was later deleted from the General Roman Calender of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI. Modern Valentine’s Day symbols 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.
Will You Be My Valentine?
I have heard varying accounts of how both men and women feel about Valentine’s Day. Some say it is just another day for consumers to be swayed into buying flowers, candy and cards to boost sales for retailers and has nothing to do with love. Others say it is a great day to celebrate love and the one you adore. Some say that Valentine’s day is the perfect day to show someone you have a crush on that you are interested in more.
I think Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to show someone you care or that you love them. I don’t think it has to be limited to romantic love, friends and family are great valentines to have! My earliest memory of Valentine’s Day is as a child. Nobody had a boyfriend or girlfriend or was romantically in love in kindergarten (at least not back then!). Everyone found a box of valentine cards at the local drug store (usually some theme like Peanuts or some superhero) that came with at least one less than the class size, creating the need for an extra box. The box even had a ‘teacher’ valentine. All you had to do was sign your name and write the receivers name on the outside.
Over the years, it became clear that certain people getting and giving valentines would know you ‘liked’ them, but even still all the boys and all the girls would get a valentine card. And then middle school and high school changed everything. It was not cool to give the whole class a valentine nor the teacher! One of my schools had flowers or candy you could buy from the student council so you could send it to your crush. Of course that was great if you got one, but not so great if you didn’t. Worse how embarrassing if your crush gave his/her valentine to someone else!
I couldn’t wait to be a grown up and have my ‘own’ valentine and I was confident that person would come with flowers, candies and cards each Valentine’s Day, oh and dinner out too! Like me, perhaps you wonder how did we get here? What happened to the simplicity of Valentine’s Day just being about being nice to one another and doing something sweet instead of it being about romantic love, romantic gestures and over the top gifts? Not only has the move from simplicity to grand gestures become unfair to all those who need a lil love on Valentine’s Day but it also sets one up for disappointment if you did not get what they expected.
Some people do not care to engage in the hype of Valentine’s Day, some have no idea what would be the ‘perfect’ gesture to show the one they love what they mean to them and others simply do not have the means to make a big fanfare over yet another holiday of gift giving. That could lead others to feeling unloved, not worthy and disappointed. I have experienced some wonderful and amazing Valentine’s Day gestures and gifts. And I have also had those when somebody conveniently ‘forgot’ what day it was (though not sure how that happens with the media and retailers reminding us in September that Valentine’s Day is coming… yeah, uh, in 6 months!).
I just want to go back to the simple way of celebrating the day of love. While I agree with many people who believe each day is an opportunity to show others you care and love them, it is great to have one special day earmarked for love. I’m sending some of my friends valentines, from the box I picked up at the drug store, and I will be sending them to both boys and girls and to those I have no romantic feelings for. Hopefully I will get some too! I am also going to keep my note under my pillow asking for my special someone to show up in my life and be my special valentine and I theirs. There is nothing wrong with hoping!