Valentine’s Day, probably the most commercial holiday of them all

Valentine’s day is that holiday of the year where if you don’t have a girlfriend you feel excluded from everything, and if you have a girlfriend you will definitely need to come up with something original for her not to consider you a disrespectful bum. It is a custom to buy flowers, buy chocolate, or reserve dinner tables at expensive restaurants. This whole “love” madness is a $16 billion business, in one single day, an impressive number indeed. What I don’t understand is why this holiday has so much success; after all there is no historical evidence tying 14th February to any spectacular showcase of love.

After digging a little deeper into the origins of this holiday I found out that there is an unexpected connection between this period and its association with romance. In ancient Rome, between 13th and 15th of February, people were celebrating a festival called Lupercalia. There is a degree of uncertainty whether this festival was in honor of the she wolf Lupa, who adopted and fed Romulus and Remus, or Faunus, the god of fertility. What comes next may come as a shock to you, as it did for me. The festivities began with the ritual of sacrificing an animal, goat or dog preferably, after which the young women who desired a fertile womb were slapped with stripes made out of the sacrificed animals. Interesting stuff right there, resembling our lovely Valentine’s Day much? While this seems like a fun way to spend Valentine’s, it is not the only source of inspiration for the merchants trying to make a living in today’s economy. A more appealing story for why Valentine’s is Valentine’s is the story of a Roman priest by the name of Valentine that lived in the 3rd century A.D under the rule of Emperor Claudius II. Apparently the Emperor was not a fun guy and had an immense appetite for bloodbaths. He kept his army men in long lasting battles that did not allow them to create families. Claudius despised love and went as far as abolishing the institution of marriage. Father Valentine on the other hand was outraged by this law and secretly helped young couples to get married. This endeavor didn’t last long and when the Emperor found out about the priest’s disobedience, he immediately imprisoned and sentenced him to death. While in prison, Father Valentine would be visited by the couples he helped to marry, and receive flowers as symbol of their appreciation. During his detention time, Father Valentine fell in love with his prison officer’s daughter. On the day of his execution, Father Valentine passed a love letter to his darling and signed it “from your Valentine”, it was February the 14th.

I still prefer the first story, a lot more historical substance. So why do we need to celebrate our love on a single, specific day of the year? Why can’t it be everyday like that, make a present, buy a flower, surprise your better half on any other day of the year? The society in which we live definitely attaches a sentiment of guilt to this holiday, and it surely pays off. Once again, a $16 BILLION industry.

Nevertheless I have to admit I enjoyed the surprise that my lovely girlfriend prepared for me in the morning. Coming back from my morning workout at 8:30 AM on a Friday, I was definitely expecting my girl to sleep. My idea was to spoil her with a small threat that included breakfast in bed. Who knew it will be the other way around. She waited for my leave and immediately woke up to prepare an incredible breakfast feast. It’s hard to explain the grandeur of it so I will just let the photos expose it. Let’s just say during my workout I probably burned 10% of the calories I ate this morning. Unfortunately she is in class till 10 PM and we only got to enjoy a Valentine’s dinner at the university’s dining hall between her classes, but I promised to make up to her tomorrow.

Patrycja's Surprise

Patrycja’s Surprise

 

Did Valentine Day’s fever got to me as well? Most probably yes. But that doesn’t mean I am not celebrating my beautiful princess every other day of the week. For me our love’s celebration doesn’t have an exact day on the calendar, I hope for you neither.

Stay in love guys, is fun! And please don’t spend your entire savings on expensive Valentine gifts and dinner. Try to make it simple and original, you will both enjoy it much more.

 

Yours truly,

Cristian