What You Never Knew About Valentine’s Day

A Day for Lovers

A Day for Lovers 

Everybody’s thoughts turn to love on February 14 – after all, Valentine’s Day IS the most romantic day of the year!  Right? 

Celebrated annually on February 14, across the United States and in other countries around the world, it is sometimes referred to as St. Valentine’s Day, as well as the Feast of St. Valentine. 

It isn’t a religious holiday, though – even if it IS named after a saint.  Valentine’s Day has evolved from a pagan festival to an international day of Love. 

Valentine’s Day Is Only For Couples, Then – Right?

While the day is usually focused on lovers, it isn’t true that the day is only for couples. 

Back in the 1800s, when Valentine’s cards were sent over to the States from England, they were designed for both romantic partners and friends. 

Variations on Valentine’s Day

Doggy Date Night  

Doggy Date Night

This celebration takes place on February 3, so pooches are smart enough to get the jump on the day of love.  If your dog is already booked, you can put your date with her over to Valentine’s Day. 

Your dog is a loyal, protective part of your family – and maybe the only one who is always delighted to see you, so this is a good time to hang out with him or her. 

One idea for Doggy Date Night starts with you preparing a special meal for your guy or girl – consisting of foods you know s/he loves.  After a good walk – or other meal–settling exercise – the two or you could watch a movie together.  One of my faves is:  The Secret Life of Pets.  Share some delicious treats with your bud throughout. 

Galentines Day  

Galentines Day is celebrated on February 13, the day before Valentine’s Day.  It’s a great day for goddesses to get all dolled up, go out for dinner and drinks, and let the world see how Wonderful they are! 

Listen, it’s the day you celebrate with your girls.  Galentines Day is an important occasion because it’s the one where you acknowledge your girlfriends – you know, those folks who are always there for you; the ones who give you good (?) advice (whether you need/want it or not), who hold your hand when your s—t gets shaky, the one(s) who are there when “he” shows out, the one(s) you Face Time with to make sure that outfit is “the one.”

Did you know Galentines Day was created by the fictional character Leslie (“I am a goddess.”) Knope from television’s Parks and Recreation?  Thank you, Leslie! 

In case you were wondering, it is not only OK to give your girls flowers and candy on Galentines day, it’s a good idea, though not required.  Just remember it’s a day of  “Ladies celebrating ladies,” because your girls will always have your back. 

A possibly unknown “reason” for Galentines Day – you know, the “girl” thing – is there was one female St. Valentine (Valentina), who was a virgin martyred in Palestine on July 25, AD 308.   I wonder whether Leslie knew about her . . . 

Single Awareness Day 

A variation of Valentine’s Day was Single Awareness Day (SAD), also “celebrated” on February 14.  It was called Single Awareness Day or SAD, and emphasized the fact of not having a special someone to celebrate love with. 

Singles Awareness Day – Revised

SAD was a pretty negative situation, so the name of the day and the date were changed.  February 15 is Singles Awareness Day, also referred to as Singles Appreciation Day.  

#Singles Awareness Day

#Singles Appreciation Day

Instead of stressing being alone as a bad thing, being alone is seen as an opportunity to practice self-care (give yourself a mani-pedi, go have a massage or a facial), pamper yourself (watch The Bodyguard in your jammies, sip some vino, eat a carton of chocolate ice cream, take a cooking class), and/or go out with friends and have a good time.  You’re free to choose! 

On this day, you can and should do whatever will salute your appreciation of yourself (as a free woman – or man)! 

Is it a big deal to men if they don’t have a Valentine? 

Alternative

Or you could be like Jennifer Garner in the movie Valentine’s Day, and just beat the crap out of a Valentine’s Day piñata! 

Valentine’s Day Is One of Three Holidays in Which the MOST Money Is Spent

Love Isn’t Cheap

In 2021, lovers (and would-be lovers) spent around $22 billion on dinners, chocolates, flowers, jewelry and other related-to-love type gifts.  This year, that amount of loving and sharing is expected to increase by $2 billion.  As such, Valentine’s Day joins Christmas and Mother’s Day as a holiday when the most money is spent. 

Who Invented Valentine’s Day? 

The Ancient Romans?

Every year from February 13 through 15, the Ancient Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia.  Lupercalia celebrated the coming of spring, and the festival included sacrificing goats for fertility and dogs for purification.  That was followed by whipping women (who actually stood in line for the “honor”) and crops with the hides of the slain animals.  This ritual assured the women and the crops would be more fertile in the upcoming year.  Of course, there was drunken revelry (it was a festival!), men running naked and the pairing off of women with men by lottery. 

Some fun! 

Lupercalia was outlawed at the end of the Fifth Century.  Not Christian. 

Pope Gelasius I?

Pope Gelasius I put an end to Lupercalia.  Some say Valentine’s Day was “invented” by Pope Gelasius I because he established February 14 as the date of the Feast of St. Valentine in AD 496 (in honor of one of the Saints Valentine).  However, there is no indication it was a “love” festival. 

A Poet or A King?

Written in 1375, the English poet, Geoffrey Chaucer, wrote this verse: 

“For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day

Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.”

It’s from his poem, “Parliament of Foules,” which commemorated the marriage of King Richard II and Anne of Bohemia – and it may be the first time Valentine’s Day was considered a celebration of romance. 

A little more than 150 years later, by Royal Charter, King Henry VIII made Valentine’s Day an official holiday in England in 1537.

Most Popular Legend 

The emperor Claudius the Cruel needed a strong army, but men were not volunteering in the numbers he desired.  Annoyed, he decided that the men were not volunteering because they wanted to stay home with their sweethearts or wives and families.  Well, that wouldn’t do!

Claudius “fixed” that problem by outlawing marriages and engagements. 

Wedding Rings

That created another problem:  Couples in love STILL wanted to get married.  A priest in Rome (named Valentine) thought the law was cruel (and just wrong), so he secretly continued to marry couples.  He was “found out,” and tried by the Prefect of Rome, who sentenced Valentine to be beaten to death and then beheaded.  The execution was completed on February 14 in the year 270.

While Valentine was in prison, he is said to have become friends with his jailer’s daughter and performed the miracle of curing her blindness.  After his death, a note was found in his cell.  It was for the young girl and signed, “From Your Valentine.” 

This legend ends with Valentine being canonized for his service to lovers. 

“A” Saint? 

Did I say St. Valentine’s Day was named for “A” saint?  Turns out that’s wrong in a number of areas. 

History says: 

“‘At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under the date of 14 February.’  One was a priest in Rome, the second one was a bishop of Interamma (now Terni, Italy) and the third St. Valentine was a martyr in the Roman province of Africa.” 

And, as already stated, there was even a woman named Valentina who was martyred and canonized:  St. Valentine! 

Will the REAL Valentine’s Day saint please stand up? 

So, WHO Invented Valentine’s Day? 

As you can see, the answer to that question is certainly murky. 

The most likely answers are:  1)  No one knows; 2) These are just a bunch of fables that kind of “caught on”; or 3)  There IS no answer. 

What do YOU think?

Beagles With a Red Rose in His Mouth

Whatever you do on Valentine’s Day, hug your fur baby, be safe, and have fun! 

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

sk.

Resources 

Britannica, https://www.britannica.com, Article:  Valentine’s Day, by the Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, December 14, 2021

Cosmopolitan, https://www.cosmopolitan.com

History, https://www.history.com, Article:  St. Valentine beheaded; Article:  6 Surprising Facts About St. Valentine, by Elizabeth Haines

IMDb, https://www.imdb.com, Valentine’s Day

NPR,https://www.npr.org, Article:  The Dark Origins Of Valentine’s Day, February 13, 2011, 8:36 AM ET, by Arnie Seipel

National Today, Nationaltoday.com

The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com

Urban Dictionary, https://www.urbandictionary.com, Article:  Single Awareness Day

Wikipedia 

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