You’re Stuck with Hefty Bills, But If We Were Honest on Valentine’s Day…

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Valentine’s Day is that holiday some people don’t like, some love, and others forget about. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a couple that doesn’t care for Valentine’s Day or are single and happy to celebrate it. We often say things about this day that don’t match our feelings. As we grow up, our excitement for Valentine’s Day in elementary school seems to disappear, or we start feeling bitter about it. But even then, we have mixed feelings about this holiday filled with hearts.

I’ll admit it. I’m guilty, too. I didn’t date anyone back in high school, so whenever I said, “Valentine’s Day is stupid,” I meant, “I’d love to get flowers from someone I like; it would make me so happy at 16.” Now that I’m older, my views on Valentine’s Day have significantly shifted, but I think many of us still say things like that sometimes. Maybe this Valentine’s Day, we could try giving our partners, friends, or family a natural gift: telling them how we truly feel.

What People Think & Mean About Valentine’s Day?

My favourite lifestyle-based writer, Emily Kelley, has briefly explained what people have been thinking about this day and what they mean from their minds.

Others say, “I don’t need a gift this year…” while they mean, “I’ve already gotten the chocolates, flowers, and jewellery, and I’d rather have you surprise me with something different.”

People say: “Valentine’s Day is for couples” they mean: “I consider myself a tolerant person, but you’ve only been dating for a month, and your PDA is irritating.”

Others say, “I hate being single on Valentine’s Day“, while they mean “, Now I have to buy my chocolate.”

Some say, “You should show that you love your SO/friends/family daily, not just on Valentine’s Day”, while it means, “Can we make it socially acceptable for me to get dressed up and stuff my face with chocolate and wine more than once a year?”

Why Some Couples Hate Valentine’s Day?

So this is what most people hate:

  • Gift-giving, again? Oh No!

The holidays just ended, didn’t they? Only two months ago, we were all rushing to find gifts again. It’s nice to buy a small gift for our loved ones on Valentine’s Day, but it shouldn’t be a big deal. Shouldn’t spending time together be enough?

  • All the Excellent Restaurants are Crowded and Fully Booked

So, we might have a fancy meal at the nearest fast food place. That’s cool for easygoing people, but if you’re set on making Valentine’s Day extra special, that’s a bit of a letdown. Some couples are super organized and plan everything, while others can’t decide or just like to be spontaneous, so they might find Valentine’s Day challenging.

Even for those who plan and make reservations, being in a packed restaurant or trying a new place on such a busy day can be overwhelming. And if you usually love a quiet spot that’s suddenly busy on Valentine’s, you might feel a bit like a hipster, wondering why everyone else only showed up now.

  •  All the Nice Hotels Make Us Pay Crazy Rates

One year, to dodge Valentine’s Day prices, my boyfriend and I had a home-cooked meal on the actual day. If we could decide, staying at the hotel would’ve cost us at least 1.5 times more. With Valentine’s Day on a Wednesday this year and hotel rates already high, be prepared for a hefty credit card bill. For a budget-friendly escape, consider booking a cheaper hotel, grabbing some affordable bubbly, drugstore chocolates, silk rose petals, and a bubble bath for a makeshift romantic evening. It’s a cost-effective way to celebrate!

  • Expectations Can Get Kind of Awkward

Valentine’s Day could spark major disagreements among couples, especially those in new relationships if there’s a mismatch in expectations for the day. Maybe one partner dreams of an exciting night out, while the other prefers a cosy dinner at home. Not everyone values this holiday equally, highlighting the need for open communication about each other’s feelings, preferences, and potential plans.

If you’re thinking of something big, like an extravagant dinner or a short getaway, ensure both partners are involved in brainstorming, organizing, and managing the expenses. It’s much better when the effort is shared.

Get to Know The Roots Behind

The stories around Valentine’s Day are a fascinating blend of history, legend, and tradition. From ancient festivals celebrating fertility to tales of brave saints who defied emperors for love, these myths have shaped a day where we express our affection for one another. This mix of old tales and customs from different parts of the world has turned February 14th into a particular time to celebrate love in all its forms.

In the 3rd century AD, during the reign of Emperor Claudius II, also known as Claudius Gothicus.  The Roman army needed more Soldiers to go to war, but most young men preferred getting married and living with their families to going to war.

Claudius II then prohibited marriages, forcing young men to go to war. A priest named Valentine continued secretly conducting weddings, going against the emperor’s command. He was then arrested and put in jail; while in prison, he continued to preach to the prisoners and jailers.

One of the jailers brought forth his daughter, who was blind to Valentine; he then performed a miracle, and the jailer’s daughter regained her sight. Despite his good deeds while in jail, Claudius called for Valentine’s execution. Before his execution, Valentine wrote a letter to his jailer’s daughter with the signature “From Your Valentine”, a phrase that has transcended centuries and is still used today. Valentine was then martyred and buried on the Via Flaminia north of Rome around 269 AD.

Pope Gelasius I canonized (as Saint Valentine) him in 496 ADS, establishing February 14th as his feast day. The Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome, claims to house his skull, and other relics are distributed among various churches worldwide. While the historical facts of Saint Valentine’s life are few, his legend has endured, embodying ideals of love, courage, and sacrifice.

Later in the 16th century, the Romans celebrated a festival called Lupercalia, an ancient Roman festival held annually on February 15th, deeply rooted in the city’s early history and closely tied to fertility and purification. The festival was named after Lupercus, the Roman god of shepherds and associated with Faunus, the Roman equivalent of the Greek god Pan.

Lupercalia was one of the most ancient rites, believed to ward off evil spirits and increase fertility. It was celebrated near the cave of Lupercal on the Palatine Hill, where Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome according to legend, were said to have been suckled by a she-wolf. This location held significant symbolic value for Romans, linking the festival to the city’s mythological origins. The rituals of Lupercalia included;

  • Sacrifices: The festivities began with the gift of goats and a dog by the Luperci, the priests of Lupercus. The goats symbolized fertility, while the dog represented purification.
  • Februa: After the sacrifice, the Luperci cut strips, called februa, from the skins of the sacrificed animals. They then ran around the Palatine Hill, naked or nearly so, slapping women and crop fields with the februa. This act was believed to bring fertility and easy childbirth to women and to promote fertility in the fields.
  • Lottery: In some accounts, Lupercalia also featured a matchmaking lottery. Young women would place their names in an urn, and young men would draw characters. The paired couple would then be companions for the festival’s duration, sometimes even longer if the match was right.
  • As Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, pagan festivals like Lupercalia were increasingly viewed with disapproval. In the 5th century CE, Pope Gelasius I reportedly abolished Lupercalia and declared February 14th St. Valentine’s Day, though the exact nature of this transition is subject to debate among historians. Some sources suggest the Christian holiday was established to “Christianize” the pagan celebration.

Despite the Church’s official stance, elements of Lupercalia’s traditions persisted, gradually merging with the customs of St. Valentine’s Day. Over time, the focus shifted from fertility and purification to the more generalized celebration of love and romance that characterizes Valentine’s Day today.

Other Theories Surrounding Valentine’s Day

  1. Saint Valentine of Terni.

Also known as Saint Valentine of Interamna (Interamna Nahars being the ancient name for Terni, Italy), shares a feast day with Saint Valentine of Rome on February 14th. Much like that of Saint Valentine of Rome, his life is wrapped in mystery and intertwined with the legends that contribute to the traditions of Valentine’s Day. However, distinguishing between the stories of these two saints can be challenging, as their lives and legends have often been merged over time.

Saint Valentine of Terni converted a philosopher to Christianity and also performed a miracle by healing a young boy suffering from Epilepsy by prayer and laying hands on him. This miracle increased his reputation as a healer and a holy man, drawing people from all around to seek his aid. Valentine of Terni was martyred during the persecution of Christians by Emperor Aurelian.

He was arrested, imprisoned, and eventually executed for his faith and for performing marriages for Christian couples, which was a crime under Roman law at the time. According to tradition, he was beheaded on the Via Flaminia, much like Saint Valentine of Rome, and his relics were later taken back to Terni. He is buried at the Basilica of Saint Valentine in Terni, where his tomb became a popular pilgrimage site.

Saint Valentine of Terni was a bishop of Interamna around the 3rd century AD, during the same period as Saint Valentine of Rome. He is believed to have been born in 176 AD and died in 273 AD. His association with the modern celebration of Valentine’s Day stems from his actions and the miracles attributed to him, which, like those of Saint Valentine of Rome, emphasized love, compassion, and the miraculous.

  1. Geoffrey Chaucer

Chaucer’s connection to Valentine’s Day is primarily through his poem “Parliament of Fowls,” which was written in the late 14th century. The poetry is considered one of the first references to the idea that Valentine’s Day is a special day for lovers. In “Parliament of Fowls,” Chaucer describes a group of birds gathering to choose their mates on “Seynt Valentynes day.” This poem played a crucial role in popularizing the association of Valentine’s Day with romantic love, a concept that has evolved into the modern celebration of the day.

The myths and legends surrounding Valentine’s Day weave a rich mixture of ancient pagan rituals, Christian martyrdom, and medieval poetry, ending in a day devoted to love and affection. At its heart, Valentine’s Day sums up the human desire to celebrate love in its many forms, from the spiritual and familial to the passionate and romantic.

The stories of Saint Valentine—whether of Rome, Terni, or a composite of the two—embody the ideals of love, sacrifice, and bravery, serving as timeless reminders of love’s power to defy oppression and bring people together. Meanwhile, the transition from Lupercalia to Valentine’s Day highlights the evolution of cultural practices and the blending of traditions over time.

Valentine’s Day is a testament to love’s enduring appeal, transcending its mythic origins to become a global celebration of the heart’s capacity for love.

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