I know what you're thinking. Promoting Valentine's Day - another "Hallmark Holiday".
Sure, that may be true, but when you expand on the philosophy of Valentine's Day, it doesn't have to be schmaltzy or contrite. It actually has a fascinating history.
It's origins are a bit murkey and varied. Some say Valentine was actually two people. One who was a priest in 3rd century Rome who defied Emperor Claudius II's ban on marriage (he thought it distracted young soldiers),and was illegally marrying couples in the spirit of love until he was caught and sentenced to death. Another legend suggests that Valentine was killed for attempting to help Christians escape prison in Rome, and that he actually sent the first "valentine" message himself while imprisoned, writing a letter signed "From your Valentine," to a young woman who visited him.
Another possible orgin commemorates the death of St. Valentine on February 14 while others believe that a Pagan holiday called "Lupercalia," which was celebrated on February 15 in ancient Rome was where it orginated. Dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, and Roman founders Romulus and Remus, the day was celebrated by sacrificing goats and dogs and smacking women with animal hides, a practice believed to encourage fertility.
At the end of the 5th century, Roman Pope Gelasius officially declared the date of February 14 "St. Valentine's Day." But not until the Middle Ages was the holiday associated with love and romance, a tradition that first started from the common belief in France and England that birds started their mating season on February 14.
EnterCupid who was depicted as a cherubic boy. He was a Greek God named Eros who was immortal and handsome with supernatural powers that made people fall in love.
A French medieval duke named Charles is credited with the first Valentine note he sent to his wife in 1415. Charles penned a sweet note to his lover while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London at just 21 years old. One of the lines in the poem? "I am already sick of love, My very gentle Valentine." Mass produced Valentine cards did not appear until the 1840's in the USA.
Giving flowers became a popular custom in the 17 century. The practice can be traced to when King Charles II of Sweden learned the "language of flowers" — which pairs different flowers with specific meanings — on a trip to Persia, and subsequently introduced the tradition to Europe. The act of giving flowers then became a popular trend during the Victorian Era — including on Valentine's Day — with red roses symbolizing deep love.
Today, Americans spend over $27 million dollars on Valentine's Day gifts, including cards, flowers, chocolate and jewelry. They even buy things for their pets!
But did you know? There's also an official Valentine's Day Alternative for Single People. Since 2003 "#InternationalQuirkySinglesDay" is celebrated for self love and platonic relationships.
So don't feel left out. Whether single or married, divorced or just friends, the most important part is to celebrate love. And if you're not into sweets, or flowers, and can't afford jewlry, we suggest Wine. Red, White or Rose, Sweet or Dry, there's one to enjoy at any budget. We can even make a beautiful gift basket!
So this year, enjoy "Valen-wine Day", however you choose and whoever you're with, or not. Even if it's curling up with your dog!