What is the day like for single individuals without a mate? What about divorcees or widowers? What about the people who simply don’t appreciate the commercialism?
For anyone out of touch with the Gregorian calendar, let me help you out, tomorrow is February 14, also known as Valentine’s Day. Much like any holiday, there are individuals who embrace the celebration of Valentine’s Day and others who prefer to ignore its existence.
On a day when one is expected to exchange candy, flowers and gifts with a significant other, the pressure is real. What is the day like for single individuals without a mate? What about divorcees or widowers? What about the people who simply don’t appreciate the commercialism?
Why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day anyhow? Seriously, what is the historical significance behind boxes of stuffed chocolates? The truth is, no one really knows! There is much conjecture, but no one single story that can be corroborated as completely legit.
One version of the Valentine’s Day celebration ties the event to a festival where priests dipped strips of goat’s hide into sacrificial blood. The hide strips were then used to [gently] slap women. The ritual was thought to increase fertility. No, that is not odd, at all.
Written Valentine’s began appearing some time after during the 1400’s. The oldest known valentine in existence, a poem, is part of a collection of manuscripts at the British Library in London. It was written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife after his capture at the Battle of Agincourt.
By the 1900’s as printing technology improved and postage costs decreased, ready-made cards gained popularity. It is easy to understand how the effortlessness of a printed card eventually replaced the labor of self-creation. The Greeting Card Association estimates that 1 billion Valentine’s cards are sent annually, with 85% of those purchased by women.
We can blame the Cadbury brothers for making the delicacy available to the masses. In 1861 the company created the first heart-shaped box, and a tradition between chocolate and Valentine’s Day was birthed.
No matter the origin, Valentine’s Day has become a day for showing care to others. There is no recipe for how, or to whom care is expressed. Get Creative. Have fun. Make goodie bags stuffed with refrigerator magnets, mini-candles, decorative post-it notes, and chapstick, etc. for co-workers. Nothing says, “I care” like a grocery store gift card. It’s practical and handy for anyone.
If Valentine’s Day is a difficult holiday, for you, instead of focusing on the distress, why not look outward? There are so many gestures requiring minimal effort; share a favorite book or magazine with a neighbor, deliver a meal for a family with young children, bake brownies for the whole office, or compose a handwritten note to someone who’d never expect the gesture.
February 14, a day set aside to show a little love, make it your own!
Until Next Time,
Becky J. Miller