If you’re single like me, Valentine’s Day probably doesn’t mean much to you unless you have children or grandchildren. Thankfully, I do, but some people do not. What is the history of Valentine’s Day anyway? Who thought of celebrating it and why?
According to Roman history, one of the three St. Valentines I’m going to talk about was martyred for continuing to perform marriages despite the emperor’s orders. The reason for these orders? Claudius II, for purposes of war, decided that it was better for his army if his young soldiers remained single. Valentine strongly disagreed and continued performing these secret marriages regardless of the order. When Claudius learned of Valentine’s disobedience, he ordered Valentine to be killed. Another St. Valentine, who too was this holiday’s namesake, was also killed for doing something really bad (eye roll). Finally, the last St. Valentine was put to death for helping Christians escape the Roman prison. It is said that this particular Valentine actually sent a love letter to his girlfriend who had visited him while there. If you choose to believe, he was said to have signed the love letter, from your Valentine. Isn’t that so sweet? Now if these stories don’t tug at your heartstrings and make you want to run out and buy a card and some chocolates for your special person, I don’t know what would.
Nevertheless, you will. You will hop in your car (hopefully with good snow tires) and head on down to the Godiva store (before it goes out of business) and get some pricy pieces of chocolate. You’ll, no doubt, pick up a mushy card that expresses your love better than you could actually express it (or maybe you don’t have time to write anything meaningful on your own-no judgment), and perhaps you’ll buy some roses (red ones if your relationship is serious, yellow ones if you want to be martyred yourself) or some other pretty flower bouquet from a real florist. (Try to avoid the $5 bunches from Trader Joe’s. Or the $14.99 bouquets from Costco. We know our flowers, don’t we ladies? Those are dead giveaways). If you really want to impress your sweetheart, you’ll have those flowers delivered (a bonus: the deliverer will be impressed too), and you’ll add a $15 gift card to Dunkin’ Donuts or dare I say it, Starbucks. Now, if these things don’t express your love, you could be in serious trouble. Really? (eye roll)
When did a dead Catholic saint get to say whether or not you have to be romantic in February, especially on perhaps the coldest day of the year? When did he get to be in charge of what you do on February 14th? How is it fair that now, you have to spend at least 50 of your hard-earned dollars (on whatever gifts you choose) and give gifts you don’t necessarily want to give or have the money to give? It might not be fair, but it is reality. (And believe me, if you don’t think your special person will compare what you gave, you’re crazy) Under the pressure, you will succumb. It’s okay. I’ve succumbed too. But before you buy that mushy card and those red roses (better get at least a dozen), be sure that your heart is really in it. That you actually love and care for that special person in your life. And not just on February 14th.