So I’m kind of off the hook this Valentine’s. My husband and I are still riding high from our recent week in Italy. We’re still giving each other gooey looks and ending our sentences with Cara Mia and Ti Amo. This won’t last. We work full time and are in the process of buying a house. How one of us has remained un-murdered for nearly 18 months of marriage remains a mystery.
I jest, but can’t help but think back to the time when Valentine’s Day was a party that everyone in the world had received invitation to but mine had gotten lost in the post. To some people that’s the case now. Like Christmas and New Year’s there is an unbelievable amount of pressure to be happy on this random day in the middle of February.
So what actually is Valentine’s Day and where does it come from? I have vague memories from primary school of some sort of child-like deity who would go around shooting love arrows at people. Looking into it a bit I was surprised to note that the holiday’s origins are distinctly Christian, with numerous martyrs carrying the name Valentine.
One version of history is that Saint Valentine performed clandestine Christian weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. The poet Henry Chaucer is largely to thank (or to blame) for now having the day inextricably associated with romantic love.
It is on one hand, a day to express your love for your partner. One day of the year when you both make the effort to demonstrate your affection and appreciation of one another. This is something that can often be lost in the normal grind of day-to-day life.
Some couples however say that they show their love and appreciation for their partner every day and therefore don’t need an allocated calendar date for this. Others again shun the holiday as they don’t like the fact that a third party is dictating when and how they express themselves in a private relationship.
And if you’re on your own, you have to sit with gritted teeth whilst every man and his dog is either sending red roses or alternatively scattering the petals somewhere. One can’t even walk into a M&S without being sold a Valentine’s dinner for two. Take a deep breath and remember it will all be in the bin tomorrow.
I like Valentine’s Day and I think we’ll always share cards in our house but I wouldn’t shed a tear if it suddenly wasn’t around anymore. Try not to put too much pressure on your partner to be romantic, in my experience this goes down like a lead balloon rather than a heart shaped red one.