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Happy Valentine's Day

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Published: 8 Feb 2013      

Love it, hate it, or simply not bothered about it, Valentine's Day  is right around the corner. The TV is covered with adverts saying, buy this, create that for the one you love. Is that really what Valentine's Day is all about or is there something more to it than spending a ridiculous amount of money on a single day for that one you love.

I always thought that love was not about one day, but about a lifetime. Simple things such as a smile, helping with daily tasks, making a cup of tea with out being asked, or has that time past and I’m a grouch when it comes to Valentine's Day?

As a Mrs Grouch I decided to do some research and find out what Valentine's Day is really about. Guess what?  We get to blame the Italians or Romans to be exact and the god Valentine.

St Valentine's Day does have its roots in several different legends that have found their way to us through the ages. The Roman god Valentine, is one of the earliest and most popular symbols of the Valentine's day and is represented by Cupid, the Roman god of love. He is shown as the image of a young boy with bow and arrow. There are several theories surrounding the history of Valentine's Day.

So was there a real Valentine?

Three hundred years after the death of Jesus Christ, the Roman emperors still demanded that everyone believe in the Roman gods. Valentine, a Christian priest, had been thrown in prison for his teachings. On February 14, Valentine was beheaded, not only because he was a Christian, but also because he had performed a miracle. He supposedly cured the jailer's daughter of her blindness. The night before he was executed, he wrote the jailer's daughter a farewell letter, signing it "From Your Valentine." Another legend tells us that this same Valentine, well-loved by all, received notes to his jail cell from children and friends who missed him.

Then there’s Bishop Valentine.

Another Valentine was an Italian bishop (yep at it again) who lived at about the same time, AD 200. He was imprisoned because he secretly married couples, contrary to the laws of the Roman emperor. Some legends say he was burned at the stake.

We next have The Feast of Lupercalia

The ancient Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia, a spring festival, on the 15th of February, held in honour of a goddess. Young men randomly chose the name of a young girl to escort to the festivities. With the introduction of Christianity, the holiday moved to the 14th of February. The Christians had come to celebrate February 14 as the saint day that celebrated the several early Christian martyrs named Valentine.

Now we get to choosing a sweetheart on Valentine's Day

The custom of choosing a sweetheart on this date spread throughEuropein the Middle Ages, and then to the early American colonies. Throughout the ages, people also believed that birds picked their mates on February 14!

In AD 496 Pope Gelasius I declared February 14 as "Valentine's Day".

Whatever the odd mixture of origins, St Valentine's Day is now a day for sweethearts. It is the day that you show your friend or loved one that you care. You can send chocolates to someone you think is special. Or you can send roses, the flower of love. Most people send a "valentine" - a greeting card named after the notes that St. Valentine received in jail.

The Valentine card

Probably the first greeting cards, handmade valentines, appeared in the 16th century. As early as 1800, companies began mass-producing cards. Initially these cards were hand-coloured by factory workers. By the early 20th century even fancy lace and ribbon-strewn cards were created by machine.

So there you have it a history of Valentine's Day. Gone from a sentimental act to a mass production of cards and heart shaped boxes of chocolates and then don’t forget the red rose.

Will you be following the masses this year or trying something a little different to say you care?

A few ideas:

  • Forget the roses, what are her favourite flowers, show you pay attention.
  • Make her / him a nice breakfast (in bed preferably!).
  • Leave a note like valentine not a mass produced card.
  • Dinner doesn’t have to be a fancy affair. If your not the normal cook in the house take a turn.
  • Send a text with a simple kiss.
  • Or try not being grumpy for the day (that might be my gift this year!)

 

They are simple ideas, but they mean more and show that you listen and are willing to make more of an effort than standing in the queue at the supermarket.

 

Good luck and happy Valentine's Day!