That time of year is upon us again, the time of year where some people rejoice in the love they share, the single rue their loneliness and unorganized people go bonkers trying to get to shops in time to get a ‘special’ gift for their loved one – and by special I mean something that doesn’t look like it could have been bought at the local off license, sweet shop, supermarket or petrol station!
Yes – it’s St Valentine’s Day again…
The history of the actual Saint Valentine is complex and convoluted as there were several Saint Valentines that were martyred during the good old days before historical referencing was especially accurate (i.e. thousands of years before the existence of the Internet). One legend suggest that there lived a priest named Valentine who performed secret marriage ceremonies for young soldiers after the Roman Emperor Claudius II had allegedly ordered them to remain single and unmarried for it made them more focused in battle and much better soldiers – wow as if soldier’s human rights weren’t terrible enough!
But the majority of the associations between St Valentine and the art of showering a loved one with gifts and affection come from Geoffrey Chaucer’s era -yep that guy who used some incredibly random language to write stories and poems that you had to study for English A-Level! He wrote a poem, to honor the engagement of King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia, in which one of the first romantic references was made to St Valentine’s Day.
Several other literary resurgences throughout the ages have seen the day become a major one in the Western calendar, although we still haven’t wrangled getting the day as a public holiday! In 1797 a British publisher came out with a collection of ‘sentimental verses’ for people unable to think of their own, these became so popular that they were printed on cards, with pictures and the like and that is probably how the tradition of sending Valentines cards came upon us!
For many however, Valentine’s Day is viewed as another day through which the media and advertising agencies try to convince us to part with our hard-earned cash. They warn us days, weeks and sometimes months before to be prepared and buy their cards, jewellery, chocolates, teddy bears, etc or risk incurring the wrath of our lovers!! Some may call the anti-Valentines crew, bitter and cynical, or just too damn stingy to put their hands in their pockets to treat their other half!
But they do make some good points, expressing our love shouldn’t be limited to one day of year, it is something we should celebrate every day (don’t worry, I am totally aware how cheesy I am sounding now – but you get my drift). It also shouldn’t be about how much money we spend – sometimes the best gifts do not cost a lot, if anything, the kind of gift that shows you listen when the other person speaks is always a winner – something a lot of couples struggle to do nowadays!
But in saying that, I don’t see the harm in having a day specifically dedicated to treating that special someone in your life and letting them know just how important they are to you.
How do you feel about Valentine’s Day, is it just commercial hype to you or a great romantic tradition that you really look forward to? Post a comment and let us know!!!