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.


  1. I was guilty of going a bit overboard for Valentine's Day this year: I gave John a stainless steel ring with a Celtic knot that spins in the middle. Bad news: it didn't fit. But, he assured me he loved it, and put in his jewelry box with all his special jewelry. I'm excited because he normally splurges on me for other holidays, but this year he bought everything for us to cook dinner together, plus a bottle of wine to share while watching The Italian Job on DVD. I feel guilty because I was thinking of just him in my mind, while he thought about both of us. Oh well, I guess I have a chance to redeem myself for our 4-year anniversary in 5 months...Happy Valentine's Day!

  2. I completely agree with you. I'm not against v-day but I'm not for supporting major corporations who thrive on this day. I made my bf a card and instead of going out made steak and mashed taters. Simple sweet and utterly perfect. Sure we went to the movies but that was to seperate our dinner from choco fondue. I like how you combine the theories of origin together, and then explain how it could be wrong. I didn't even think about how the catholic church wouldn't do that. I feel it's well written and it wasn't total ranting it was also heres the theories heres why they are wrong. Happy V-Day! Hopefully one day people will learn v-day doesn't have to be spending alot of money that's what makes it stressful and annoying!

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  4. I guess I sounded pretty bitter in my post! There's nothing wrong with splurging every once in a while :) Your Valentine's Day sounded so sweet and perfect (tell John great job haha). It was sweet, thoughtful, meaningful, and inexpensive. I hope your anniversary goes just as well!

  5. Thanks Chelsea! I was worried that it would sound like a rant. Your V-Day sounds so sweet and thoughtful too! I'm all about some movies and choco fondue :) and yes one day I hope people will realize the real meaning of the holiday... of all holidays for that matter.

  6. haha! Wow...All I have to say is that St. Valentine was pretty bad a**! Rebellious priest who gets locked up and then goes for his guards daughter?!?! Even though I'm not all about Valentines Day, no wonder they came up with a holiday for him. I had no idea that this was where Valentine's Day came from and I'm not going to lie- it's HILarious. I think it's pretty awesome that you found out this and shared it with us!