Valentine’s Day, then, is an appropriately cheerful day to me. Who cannot be cheered by the colorful red hearts that appear as decoration in multiple sizes with various accoutrements? And then, there are all the gorgeous flowers that await your purchase – the tulips, roses and other complimentary flowers combined in beautiful arrangements. Even the shape of the heart is most pleasant – two “C” shaped halves facing each other as one – it is an easy shape to form, to cut. It was easy for my small hands to make cheerful decorations that could be enhanced by paper doilies. The bright red and vibrant pink construction paper took the gray from the wintery day. And who cannot be delighted by the endless creativity of the packets of valentine’s cards that were and are available? They always had clever sayings and charming sentiments. I think, perhaps, the one most distinctive thing I liked about February 14, and this was true for all the schools I attended, was that everyone in my class was considered equal. We all made our Valentine’s boxes or bags, we all gave cards to each classmate (sometimes the card was homemade) whether or not we really liked them. No one was ignored, we all received something. Each person was included. This is the legacy for which I thank my teachers.
Yes, I thank my teachers for carrying on a charming tradition. Even though February 14th was once recognized as the Roman feast of Lupercalia, it was Christianized by Western Europeans to commemorate the martyrdom of Saint Valentine in A.D. 270. In medieval times, Saint Valentine then became “associated with the union of lovers under condition of duress.” * I do not really want to know what is meant by “under condition of duress”. It wasn’t until much later that romantic messages were exchanged, and then not until the mid-1800’s (when printing became easier and more prevalent) that cards became popular. I’m glad the tradition has progressed into a more light hearted celebration.
And thus, I equate this day of hearts, not just with romance, but with real love. By this, I mean, love for the human race. I really don’t think we need to be over indulgent with gift exchanges. Let’s keep the commercialism at bay. I simply feel that that some recognition toward those for whom we care is all that is needed. Of course, that should probably be done daily, if possible, yet it is fun to have a special day set aside for the sharing of such sentiments. I also believe that a romantic partner is not required in order to participate in the joy – it is, to me, really a day for sharing gladness and the joy of life with everyone. Happy Valentine’s Day!
*The Columbia Encyclopedia. 6th ed. (2000). s.v. “Saint Valentine’s Day.”