Next week is includes Valentine’s Day. To some, this is a silly, made-up-holiday that is created just to make money for the card and candy industry. To others, it’s an important day when we celebrate the important people in our lives.
For me, every day is a chance to tell my near and dear that they are important. But I confess, I do love to receive the special treats that often accompany this day. I recently read an article in a magazine about this topic. The author, Robin McCauley, wrote a tongue-in-cheek message about not making a big deal about Valentine’s Day. My favorite line was after she had said that if her loved ones absolutely had to get her something, they should make a gift, as these are the best. She said, “I would love nothing more than a thoughtful handmade Tiffany diamond ring or card.”
This pretty much sums up how I feel about Valentine’s Day.
According to Wikipedia, our celebrations today are based on the Feast of St. Valentine. Sometime in the 14th century, likely with the help and influence of Geoffrey Chaucer (remember reading him in high school English class?), it became a tradition to send greetings and confections to loved ones on Feb. 14.
Something that’s been around for over 600 years must have some merit to it. Around the world, there are a lot of ways to honor loved ones or celebrate Valentine’s Day. Many countries, like the USA, use cards and candy to let folks know they are important. But other countries have some interesting practices. In South Africa, for example, folks pin the name of someone they like to their sleeve — literally wearing their hearts on their sleeves. Often, this is how a person finds out that someone else likes them!
In Denmark, roses are not the flower of choice to send, as they are here. They send white pressed flowers that are called “snowdrops.” Actually, that’s a pretty good idea for Ohio in February, too.
On Valentine’s Day in South Korea, it’s the women who woo the menfolk, sending the candy and cards. The men have their turn on March 14, when they court the females.
They celebrate love in Wales, the nation of my heritage, but not on Feb. 14. Jan. 25 is St. Dwynwen Day, as he is the patron saint of love. Intricately carved wooden spoons are the popular gift to give there, and they are given for weddings, engagements, and anniversaries as well.
In England, women leave five bay leaves under their pillows on Valentine’s Day. Some believe that bay leaves will induce prophetic dreams, so perhaps they hope to dream of their love. Often, candy and small presents are left for children.
Italy boasts the classic romantic dinner as their best tradition for Valentine’s Day. You can’t get much more romantic that spaghetti and red wine (and possibly a little bling in a box near the water glass).
However you celebrate, or don’t, I wish you a day filled with love! Email me at email@example.com.
Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at the Hospice store (For All Seasons) in Troy and teaches part-time at Urbana University. She keeps busy taking care of husband, house, and pets. She and her husband have an adult son who lives in Troy.