For many years I thought Valentine’s Day was a Hallmark holiday, one that was manufactured so that greeting card companies and florists could make us buy things we didn’t need and candy sales would soar. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I came to know the history associated with this holiday and the legend behind all of the cards and flowers.
Folklore presents a tale of a priest named Valentine (later to become a martyred Saint), marrying lovers in secret, against the wishes of Roman Emperor Claudius II who ordained his soldiers remain single and celibate in order to maintain their focus. There is an additional modern embellishment to this story, provided by American Greetings to History.com, and widely repeated despite having no historical basis whatsoever. On the evening before Valentine was to be executed, he wrote the first “valentine” card himself, addressed to the blind daughter of his jailor, Asterius, signing the card “From your Valentine.” From that point, ‘Valentines’ were sent in secret as expressions of love by those who could not openly proclaim their feelings for various reasons.
In elementary school, we exchange valentine card with everyone in the entire class, for those who are home-schooled- this is a fairly easy task. In middle school, students send lollipops or messages to friends and crushes either anyonymously or as a blatant show of affection. In high sc’hool it starts to get complicated and only the ‘couples’ really get into the celebration unless there is some really burning desire to use this as the day to come clean and profess your undying love. As we get older, Valentine’s Day becomes the day we send our loved ones greetings; mother, father, grandparents, dear friends, etc.
In the dating world, Valentine’s Day is the day to pull out all the stops and possibly pop the question. In fact, about 10% of all engagements occur on this holiday. More than that, many couples decide to get married on this holiday for a myriad of reasons: it is a very romantic day to join together in matrimony, there is a lot of history associated with this holiday, and it’s an easy date to remember.
For whatever reason you get engaged or married on this holiday, remember the sacrifices of those who gave their lives for someone they love, the ones who kept their love in secret and for those who could never join together for whatever reason. Openly express your love for those around you, show them you care with thoughts and actions, a homemade card, a diamond necklace or whatever speaks to you.
Happy Valentine’s Day
-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago