I wanted to write yesterday to wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day … but as my life is getting back to normal, so is my schedule. And by my schedule being “normal,” I mean jam packed and chaotic. I am probably one of the busiest, boring people you’ll ever meet!
Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean too much to me; it never really has. I’ve always felt it was a commercialized holiday to get us from Christmas to Easter. I did a little digging and no one has really been able to pin down the exact origin of Valentine’s Day. Some trace it back to the Feast of Lupercalia, which was a mating festival of sorts – if you read about it, though, you’ll notice it’s not very “romantic” – I mean, men slaying a goat and a dog and then women lining up to be whipped with the hides … not my cup of tea.
Although, it could be the ancient Romans who came up with the name. In the 3rd century A.D. – on February 14 – Emperor Claudius II executed two men, both by the name of “Valentine.” The Catholic Church then celebrated their martyrdom with the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day.
But things took a turn in the 5th century. Pope Gelasius I combined St. Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia to get rid of the pagan rituals. Try as they might to get rid of the rituals, it didn’t stop the day from being devoted to fertility and love.
But also, around that time the Normans celebrated Galatin’s Day – Galatin meant “lover of women.” So that also could have been confused with St. Valentine’s Day.
Of course, Shakespeare and Chaucer romanticized the day in their work and it gained popularity throughout Britain and the rest of Europe. Then, handmade paper cards became all the rage in the Middle Ages.
Of course, the tradition eventually made its way to the New World and in the 19th century during the industrial revolution factories began making cards…then in 1913 Hallmark began mass producing valentines … and that leads us to where we are today.
A commercialized holiday where one’s love is measured by the gifts they receive. Maybe I’m just bitter because I haven’t had a valentine to speak of in more than seven years … but at the same time, I don’t really think the day is all that special. I think that if you love someone you should show them every day.
Having survived breast cancer, and during my 10-month fight, I learned that I took a lot of people and things for granted – I took LIFE and LOVE for granted. Now, I do my best to be kind and friendly to everyone – from the janitorial staff to the most senior executive – at work; to the strangers that I encounter while running errands; and most importantly to my family and friends.
I realize that we all get so caught up living our lives that we don’t stop and take a few minutes to call or text a loved one or friend just to say hi and let them know that they’re on our mind. So, I don’t think we need a day to give someone a card or flowers or a shirt or whatever to let them know we love them … rather, we should spend our life being kind and celebrating our love for one another.
If you’re blessed enough to have found love, don’t take it for granted … if you’re still single, don’t be bitter – stay focused on the fact that you are alive and live a kind life. The kind that your children will be proud to mimic and the kind that is contagious.
So no matter what origins you trace Valentine’s Day to, and how you choose to celebrate … remember, you shouldn’t only celebrate your love and be kind that one day … devote your life to being kind – smile at strangers, show patience – because love and happiness is contagious … and I think we could all use a little love and happiness right now.