The holiday is named after two among the numerous Early Christian martyrs named Valentine. "The day became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.
An alternative theory from Belarus states that the holiday originates from the story of Saint Valentine, who upon rejection by his mistress was so heartbroken that he took a knife to his chest and sent her his still-beating heart as a token of his undying love for her. Hence, heart-shaped cards are now sent as a tribute to his overwhelming passion and suffering." (oh, now isn't that just THEE most romantic thought! EEEWWW!!)
Greeting cards first appeared in England in the mid nineteenth century. An estimated one billion "Valentine's" will be sent world wide. This amount of cards is second only to the amount of Christmas cards sent each year. It wasn't until the mid twentieth century, that the exchanging of Valentine's was really expanded to include flowers, chocolate and other romantic themed gifts. On average men spend twice as much as women on the holiday.
The day is celebrated in many ways throughout the world - some more romantically than others. In Japan women are expected to give chocolate to their male co-workers and friends. The favour is returned by the males on March 14. "In Finland Valentine's Day is called Ystävänpäivä which translates into "Friend's day". As the name indicates, this day is more about remembering all your friends, not only your loved ones."
I've never been a huge fan of Valentine's Day. It's not that I am not a romantic - I can be very romantic given the right circumstances and the right guy. I just never really bought into the whole commercialization of a day specifically for romance. I guess some people need that kick start to rev up a romantic partner, but I think the day feels forced. Romantic gestures can be very simple and should come at any time - not just one specific day to boost the profits of greeting card companies, florists, candy makers and other businesses that want a piece of the action.
The commercialization of the day has pretty much destroyed any real credibility to the real or intended meaning for the day. There are so many unrealistic expectations for Valentine's that it is inevitable that most people are disappointed at the end of the day.
Most women expect men to make the big romantic gestures. They want flowers, chocolates, jewellery, heart felt cards and confessions of undying love from the men in there life. They want it all!
Most men don't even remember the date until it is almost too late. They then rush to the malls and florists shops and spend inflated prices on gifts of love that will hopefully get them a home run rather than time in the proverbial dog house. There are some men who know how to romance women, but sadly most believe it is through the grand romantic gestures rather than the more subtle from the heart gifts.
Ladies, let's be honest here - shall we?
Would you rather have a dozen long stemmed roses that he paid a $100.00 or more for and will wilt in a week or a single paper/silk rose and a handwritten note that says he love you?
Would you rather have a dozen gourmet chocolates in a heart shaped box or a one pound bar of your favourite chocolate with a red bow from the dollar store on it?
Would you rather go to an expensive restaurant and spend over a $100.00 for a fancy meal or stay home and enjoy each others company over a meal you prepared together or some inexpensive take out?
I can't speak for other women, but if it was me, I'd take the second option every time! Like the old Beatles song says: "Can't Buy Me Love"! I'll take a simple, sincere gesture from the heart over an overpriced gift that was bought on the spur of the moment to appear romantic.
If you rely on this one day of the year to keep that flame burning, you are sure to be disappointed. Romance isn't easy. It does tend to fade from time to time. It takes a concerted effort on both sides to keep that spark alive.
So, no matter how busy your life gets, take a little time as often as you can (preferably every day) to let the other person know how important they are to you. It doesn't have to be big. A tender kiss or an extra long embrace. An "I love you" note taped to the mirror or stuck in their lunch bag. Really listen to how the others day has been. It's the so called little things that make the difference. These are the things that keep romance alive and make you realize just how lucky you are to have each other.
To all my friends, I hope that this day brings greetings of love and appreciation from the special people in your life.
I Love you my friend!