Ah, Valentine’s Day, or depending on your relationship status: Singles Awareness Day (SAD). Regardless of what you refer to it as, it has the same reputation – a holiday created by the chairmen of Hallmark to force lovers to buy tacky plastic flowers and cheap silk hearts lest their significant others think the love is no longer there. After all, the more you spend on someone, the more you obviously love them.
Aaaaactually…that’s not true.
Well, not the spending part – to each his/her own. But the bit about Hallmark making up the holiday – not so true. I mean, I’m sure Hallmark loves the cash cow of that holiday, but they did not make it up.
Valentine’s Day actually dates back to the days of courtly love in the Middle Ages. This was a time of incredible chivalry when a man could use one special day to prove his love to a lady in a way not much different than now. There would be flowers, lovely delicate things that smelled divine and feminine. There would be confections, nothing like the heart shaped box of chocolates like today, but sugared comfits and marzipan. There would be poetry in place of cards – hand written by the suitor to eloquently detail his affection. Of course, once printing presses came about, these were eventually mass produced. There would be red hearts to symbolize love as even those date back to the 1400’s when found on an old set of playing cards. There would be clothing, bits of ribbon and jewelry crusted with gems. No stuffed animals though – those allergy producing things didn’t come about until the 1800’s. 😉
So, why was February 14th deemed Valentine’s Day? Here are three of my favorite theories (cuz believe me, there are a LOT!):
- A man was persecuted for his Christianity. While in jail, he fell in love with the jailor’s daughter and wrote loving poems to her, signing them all as “Her Valentine” FYI, he’s noted as being one of several Saint Valentine’s out there.
- The second includes a rumored king who thought the strongest soldiers were the ones who had nothing to lose. He passed a law that dictated no man should marry nor produce children. A priest who believes in love quietly married couples regardless of the law and was, of course, killed for his efforts. FYI, he’s another of the Saint Valentines out there.
- The last one is the most interesting to me. Several bird watchers noticed that birds began to find their mates in nature during the middle of February every year. As a result, this became the ‘season of love’. Chaucer was actually one of the authors to indicate this in a Valentines Day poem. The funny thing about this is that men began writing how they were birds seeking their mates. $50 says at LEAST one lewdly suggested an oversized beak. Just sayin
One of the fascinating things I saw when doing all my Valentine’s Day research pertained to Casanova. Apparently he consumed chocolate on a daily basis to improve his virility. First of all, this makes me think maybe Casanova was a little chubby because unless he was hitting a serious cardio high every day, there is no way chocolate consumption fat can be avoided. I mean, I know he was a notorious lover, but come on – NO ONE can burn THAT many calories at love play. The second thought I had was how he was centuries ahead of the whole men’s spray smelling like chocolate to lure the ladies.
OK, this article is getting long and I’m running out of interesting material. The most important lesson every woman needs to secure from this post is the ability to argue with the “Valentine’s Day is just a Hallmark holiday” excuse. Cuz if we’re going off that, I guess none of us are getting a stuffed animal or mass produced card, but can look forward to flowers, confections, gem crusted jewelry, red heart shaped things, hand written poems, gem crusted jewelry, clothing, ribbon, maybe a bird…Oh! And gem crusted jewelry.
Whether you’re with someone you love or poking fun at the saps falling all over each other – Enjoy!