In most parts of the world, Valentine’s Day provides couples with a salient opportunity to express their love and commitment. It is supposed to be a day of romance and hope, when secret admirers make themselves known, when couples in love exchange tokens of their affection, and when millions experience that frivolous anticipation for that poetic endearment, heart-shaped box of chocolate, bouquet of roses, or perhaps small velvety box.
Mind you – there’s a drawback. If no gifts show up, or the wrong ones do, that anticipation often turns into an immediate disappointment or dismay and sometimes this day can feel less like a holiday and more like an emotional minefield. So I can’t help but wonder, is there more to this day than mere commercial hype, and moreover, why do we feel so much pressure on this day?
Although there are many versions of the exact origins of this holiday, the most popular adaptation dates back to third century ancient Rome where the Emperor at the time, Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men, realizing that single men made better soldiers. Valentinus, a priest, performed secret marriages for lovers in defiance for this law he believed to be unjust. When this was discovered, he was put to death.
According to legend, while Valentinus spent his days in prison awaiting his death, he fell in love with a young woman who happened to be the daughter of his jailor. He sent her a letter, which he signed, “From a Valentine,” an expression we still use today.
Statistics show that such holidays are particularly problematic for couples , when they turn round to their partner and think: What are we doing together?? Gift buying is another issue. If you've been dating for a while, then you may be in that stage of the relationship where your guy's idea of Valentines Day is letting you hold the remote. Sign. Where has the romance gone?
If you are just starting to see someone, do you buy them a present, let alone a card with those special three little words? What if you dont end up buying anything at all, only to discover a huge trophy engraved with "Champion of my heart" while your other half eagerly awaits a response as you feel slightly nauseated, and start to utter a slurry series of "Oh, you shouldn't haves.."
Whether you chose to enjoy it or ignore it, it is holidays like Valentine’s Day that bring the influences of the forces in the way we interact with others to the surface – forces often overlooked. So is there still hope out there or should this day be renamed St. Consumer’s Day as it seems more accurate? Perhaps it’s just me being cynical as I tuck into my extra large box of chocolates. Happy Heart Day everyone!