Does he or she like candy? Chocolates? What brand? Or maybe flowers and a nice dinner? Or jewelry? Tools? A trip? Will it say enough, or too much? Don't want her to think he's ready to propose when he just wants to move in. Or is it all too cliched and not creative enough? And also comes the worry that he or she will forget altogether. But the retailers aren't likely to let us forget. Valentine's Day brings in a lot of bucks. American's send out around a billion Valentine's Day cards.
But where did Valentine's Day start? We attribute the day to St. Valentine, and there are various legends about when he lived and who he actually was, but Valentine's Day started as a pagan fertility festival, Lupercalia. According to the History channel, the festival was dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as a couple of important Romans of that time. The Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would make a blood sacrifice of two animals, a goat for fertility and a dog for purification. (Purification? I love dogs, but come on! Dogs will drink out of toilets and eat unmentionable things.) Then they took strips of animal hides (poor doggy) that had been soaked in blood into the streets and gently slapped the women and the fields to make them more productive. Apparently, these women welcomed this. All I can say, is I'm glad I wasn't there. I'm thinking that candlelight dinner and Kay's Jeweler's commercial is looking better all the time.
According to the legend, the women would put their names into an urn and the men would draw names. They would be paired with these women for a year, which sometimes led to marriage. What about the ones that didn't? Love 'em and leave 'em I guess.
At the end of the 5th century the festival was banned as un-Christian and the current Pope declared February 14th Valentine's Day. But it would be a long while before it was really associated with love. Now, we consider February the month to celebrate lovers everywhere. Better than getting whacked with a strip of bloody goat skin.
Here are some fun Valentine's Day myths I found online, courtesy of http://www.stvalentinesday.org/valentines-day-fun-fact.html
- If an apple is cut in half, the number of seeds found inside the fruit will indicate the number of children that individual will have.
- To be awoken by a kiss on Valentine's Day is considered lucky.
- On Valentine's Day, the first guy's name you read in the paper or hear on the TV or radio will be the name of the man you will marry.
- If you see a squirrel on Valentine's Day, you will marry a cheapskate who will hoard all your money.
- If you see a goldfinch on Valentine's Day, you will marry a millionaire.
- If you see a robin on Valentine's Day, you will marry a crime fighter - maybe they mean Batman!
- If you see a flock of doves on Valentine's Day, you will have a happy, peaceful marriage.
- If you find a glove on the road on Valentine's Day, your future beloved will have the other missing glove.
My husband and I don't make a big deal about Valentine's Day anymore. Sometimes a card, sometimes not. For someone who loves romance, I'm very practical about some things. For me, it's just one day out of the year. But I can say for certain, I'd take jewelry over flowers or a fancy dinner any day. The jewelry will last forever. I can pass it on to my kids. The flowers and dinner are very short-lived. :) But for all my practicality, it is a great holiday, a good day to let people know we love them. So to all my readers and M&M sisters, will you be my Valentine?
What about you? Do you love Valentine's Day? What's the best or worst gift you've gotten?