Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Hip Hip Hurray for Valentine's Day?
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I’ve decided to look into the holiday’s origin and the traditions we carry on today.
There are many different versions as to how Valentine’s Day came to be; here is my version:
St. Valentine was a priest or holy man who preformed secret marriages for lovers after Claudius II decided that single soldiers preformed better on the battle field. Once his actions were discovered, he was thrown in jail and sentenced to death. While imprisoned he fell in love with his jail-gaurd’s blind daughter, who was the only one who visited him. He sent her a final letter before his execution signed, “from, your Valentine.” It is also rumored that he performed a miracle by giving the jail-guard’s daughter the ability to see. These actions earned him the title of Sainthood as well as a day dedicated solely to him. St. Valentine was martyred on February 14th which is why we celebrate Valentine’s Day when we do.
My version is a combination of three legends pertaining to three different people… clearly. Notice the contradictions: a priest who falls in love would never be inducted into Sainthood by the Catholic Church and how would a blind girl read love letters? But there are the similarities: all three legends concerned a man named Valentine, each man was recognized by the Catholic Church as being a Saint, and all three conveniently were martyred on February 14th.
But no matter which version you believe in, it is safe to say that St. Valentine didn’t exactly have a perfect love life or the best February 14th; which is why I don’t understand why people today demand perfection on V-Day. If the guy who created Valentine’s Day had a bad day, what makes you feel so entitled to have a good day?
By the middle of the eighteenth century, it was common for friends and lovers in all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. How did we get from “small tokens of affection or hand written notes” to elaborate evenings filled with 12 dozen roses, 50-piece boxes of chocolates, $75 per person dinners, and $550 diamond necklaces?
I feel like V-Day is either a competition between couples to see who can give the best gift, thus making them the most romantic; or it’s a day spent in worry, where the couple tip toes their way through every action hoping it’s the right thing to do—just because it’s February 14th.
Too many times have I heard a wining rant about how nothing went right and the other person in the relationship is to blame. Whatever happened to looking back on imperfection and laughing it off?
So here is my challenge:
Guys, don’t throw down big money to impress your date this Sunday. Be creative and make the day fun for BOTH of you. Sometimes the simplest things are the best things.
Girls: Instead of expecting your date to wait on you hand and foot maybe you should make the day about him too. Surprise him and do something nice for him because actions speak louder than an expensive gift.
But is this even possible? Will both parties be satisfied? You decide what’s more important: spending time with your loved one or having the “perfect” day.