Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. It’s hard to believe since advertising for the holiday began the day after Christmas! Wikipedia talks about the history of Valentine’s Day and its origin as a religious celebration for one or more early Christian saints. Many of the churches continue this practice today. It was not until the High Middle Ages that the idea of courtly love overtook the religious association for this day. In the 18th-century, in England, the holiday became a celebration for lovers to express their love by presenting flowers, sweets and cards (known as “valentines”).
My birthday is on Valentine’s Day, and I have to tell you, it is a mixed blessing. For the first 18 years of my life, every gift I received was red, white and/or pink, mushy, hearts, flowers and the rest that goes along with the holiday. My siblings absolutely loved that I was born on the 14th since I received TONS of chocolate, and I don’t even like chocolate—still, to this day! For them, it was like Halloween in February….a very sweet deal.
It makes me sad that people have gotten away from the true meaning of this holiday, as well as others. Technology and commercialism have ruined holidays for me. I do not like to give someone a card or a gift because it is expected; rather, I like to do the unexpected and surprise people when I feel moved. To me, that is what the true spirit of giving is all about. But when I hear from people, “She didn’t get me what I really wanted,” or, “What was he thinking—or not?” It makes me sad. What I love to hear is “What is the occassion?”, with which I always answer “Because….”
Celebrating my birthday with friends and loved ones on a day meant for lovers, well, just never happens. So, inevitably, I celebrate either before or after “my” day, which is actually pretty nice. The first man I ever dated asked me to choose an alternate day for use to celebrate; thus, April 1st became my “birthday” of choice. It’s ironic that it is April fool’s Day, but with my sense of humor it seemed appropriate. To this day, he still sends me my birthday card on April 1st.
Whatever drives you or motivates you, I hope your Valentine’s Day is filled with love, friends, meaningful exchanges, and gifts that include all other colors including red, white or pink!