Are we incapable of showing love at any other time of the year, Evelina Hubert finds out why we’re so inexplicably tied to the idea of being romantic on just one day of the year
Long has been the tradition to express love, be it to a partner, a spouse, a sweetheart, a parent or a friend on Valentine’s Day, that you feel pretty curmudgeonly if you dare swerve the 14th February and ignore the pressure to love. It’s become part of of our cultural DNA so refuse to buy that bouquet of a dozen roses at your peril.
The waiting game
So how did we all become so well trained that we feel thoroughly guilty if we have not purchased flowers, perfumes, or some small love token in the run up to Valentine’s Day. Some of those amongst us even believe the 14th February is the only suitable day for a marriage proposal. While others continue to wait year after year for that Valentine Day engagement to materialise and continue to be devastated on an annual basis when it fails to.
The enduring symbol of love and Valentine’s Day is of course the big red heart, it’s come to represent the most beautiful relationship to be had between two people, a glossy, soft focus image of love and romance, that many of us, readily admit are suckers for. A visual cliché maybe, but there’s something strangely sweet and reassuring about a love heart, no words are required… you just feel good when we you see one. So how did this ubiquitous symbol of love become so omnipresent in our lives.
Legend of Valentine’s Day
The true history behind St. Valentine and the day dedicated to his memory remain shrouded in mystery. But February has long been considered a month of romance and Valentine’s Day has long sat firmly at the heart of the month emanating love. The links to love, however tenuous, are tied to Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was St. Valentine and why is his name associated with such strong ancestral rites?
Lovers not fighters
One legend suggests that Valentine or Valentines was a priest who served in the third century in Rome. His fate to some extent was sealed after warmonger Emperor Claudius decided that young men could not get married. He banned all weddings between young men and women because he believed that single men needed to focus all their energies on fighting not loving. But when the Emperor discovered that the priest was secretly marrying young lovers, he sentenced him to death.
Love at first sight
Another tale featuring Priest Valentine features an attraction Valentine could not ignore. Legend has it that, Valentine sent the first Valentine’s Day greeting card after falling in love with the daughter of the prison guard who visited him in prison.
Compassion and heroism
The real truth around Valentine’s Day will probably forever remain vague, the historic records have certainly not been well kept. But the fact is, that all the stories speak of Valentine’s enormous compassion and heroism. Perhaps it’s no wonder that in the Middle Ages, he was one of the most popular holy men in England and France.
A few ways to celebrate
Celebrating your love with your nearest and dearest doesn’t have to cost a huge amount of money, of course if you can afford it, it is nice to put your money where your mouth is and buy something for your significant other that you know they will appreciate. If you know your sweetheart loves to cook, perhaps you could treat them to some cookery classes, perhaps a cordon blue lesson or a cake baking master-class.
Gifts that money can’t buy
If you like the idea of something special, but your budget just doesn’t stretch to it, don’t stress, just wash your hands, and get in the kitchen yourself. It’s time for Valentine’s Day cake ideas! Nothing says love more than a home-baked treat. To take the time out to bake the one you love a cake is romantic and thoughtful. It’s also an opportunity to offer a gift that money can’t buy. When decorating the cake, you can put a personal message on the cake that declares your love and captures a special quality. A good looking valentine cake topper is the secret! Feel free when decorating, just be honest and create something beautiful and poignant from the heart.
Create a memory that lasts
We all know roses should be red and beautiful when presented on Valentine’s Day, but lets be practical for a moment, they won’t last long and the memory will soon fade. Invest in some potted roses and the present may be with you as long as your partner, serving for years to come, as a constant reminder of your blooming love.
Cosy up in bed with nibble or two
Or what about a trip to Paris, the capital of love, there is no better place to feel the power of ‘amour’, than in France’s capital city. But if you’ve already got a family, a romantic trip to Paris is not the most practical of ideas when you have a couple of kids in tow. So if you can’t get to Paris, let Paris come to you. Wake up early on Valentine’s morning, pop some croissants in the oven and serve the one you love with warm French pastries, a glass of champagne, while some French music gently plays in the background. Or if you’re feeling really creative, have a go at making an edible postcard, decorate it with something like the Eiffel Tower, cosy up in bed as you admire your handy work and then enjoy nibbling it together, taking care not to get any crumbs in the bed.
If money is no object, then our frugal guide to love can be ignored, go ahead buy that helicopter trip across the capital, treat your lover to that speedboat they were after, or just go for it and invest in your own little love retreat and buy that private island you’ve been hankering after. After all Valentine’s Day comes round but once a year.
Advantages of Valentine’s Day
It may sound cheesy, but despite the commercial saturation of a day that should just be about love, there are some real advantages to Valentines Day. You can finally connect with that object of your affection, that you’ve been so afraid to approach. Your bold endeavour may pay off and you could end up with the one you love. Of course there are no guarantees, but its worth giving it a go. Be brave in the name of love.
Cling to traditions
And what’s wrong with observing a little tradition. It can be a positive experience to be caught up in the international exuberance of love. After all love on the whole, is a positive emotion,it can inspire us to great things, make others feel good and certainly help us feel good about ourselves. And we should cling to these traditions, so many others are falling away, its good to have something to look forward to, that all around you seem to be excited by too.
And it’s always good, to turn what would otherwise be a pretty dull weekday into an exceptional day of of celebration. If you do not have a partner, it can of course be a different story, rather than than focusing on the loneliness of being unloved, celebrate all the money you’ve saved, or just treat yourself to a bottle of champagne and a box of chocolates and go to bed with a saucy book to keep you company. But beware, Valentine’s Day does come with a health warning, all this alcohol, rich food and chocolate can lead to instant weight gain, so make sure you have a plan to work it off, this may involve your sweet Valentine or not, the choice or perhaps the luck is yours.
Disadvantages of Valentine’s Day
When you’re madly in love and inundated with gifts it’s hard to believe there is a downside to Valentine’s Day, but my dear reader we all know there is. Many of us, have been single on this romantic anniversary. But if you are unlucky or lucky enough to be without a significant other on Valentine’s Day, it can serve as a sharp stab of loneliness in your heart. A feeling only exacerbated when faced with the excess of hearts and flowers in our shops. And who can’t relate to the disappointment and frustration when you fail to find the desired gift for your sweetheart.
So perhaps the key to surviving and enjoying this anointed day of love is to remove any pressure and just enjoy it without any sense of expectation. A few kind words or a sweet gesture should be enough to give and feel love. So prove to your partner and the rest of the world, that money does not buy love. After all, Love birds waste so much money every year on bouquets, chocolates and tasteless kitsch, which on any other day of the year, would be of no interest to us.
Yes Valentine’s Day is a part of our lives, so lets embrace it with all its lovely pros and silly cons. So whatever you do, this Valentine’s Day, whether with someone or on your own, enjoy…. after all love is a beautiful thing… and most importantly don’t forget to love yourself…. you deserve it.
Happy Valentine’s Day
and for all you fellow recipe lovers, here’s a little Valentine gift for you, the only culinary advice you need… the perfect…
RECIPE FOR LOVE
2 CUPS FULL OF ROMANCE
1 TABLESPOON OF AFFECTION
2 LB OF HAPPINESS
1 CUP OF LOYALTY
½ A CUP OF LOYALTY
1 LB OF UNDERSTANIDNG
1 PINCH OF FORGIVENESS
1 DASH OF FAITH
Enjoy responsibly 🙂
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