February 14th: A very special day to me!
For many people Valentine’s Day is a special day. You probably wrote one or more cards, or bought something for someone you love. And most likely you did get something yourself. Maybe it is a day where you and your partner, or spouse, usually go out for a romantic dinner.
Supposedly the celebration of this day goes back to a Christian martyr named Valentinus. The Catholic Church knew three Saints named Valentine, and because of very few historical facts being available about any of them, legends were created. These legends were embellished over time and one says that a priest named Valentine performed secret wedding ceremonies for young men, who were supposed to stay single, as the Roman emperor Claudius II believed that unmarried men made better soldiers. When the emperor found out, Valentine was thrown in jail. A nice embellishment of the embellishment is, that, the night before Valentine was to be executed, he wrote a card, signed “From your Valentine”, to the blind daughter (who he had healed, according to another part of the legend) of his jailor Asterius,
In North America and Germany
Different countries celebrate – if at all – Valentine’s Day to a different extend. On the North America continent millions of cards are purchased or handcrafted to be given away, accompanied by flowers, chocolates, or even jewellery. I heard with some folks it is a kind of competition: who is getting the most Valentine’s cards? There are also stories of people sending cards or flowers to themselves, so that nobody would think they don’t have anyone that cares enough to send them something. Or is it meant as a treat and a sign of how much they love themselves? I honestly don’t know, although I think there is nothing wrong with giving yourself a gift now and then, whereas pretending someone else sent you flowers or a card, is a different story altogether – and beyond the scope of this post.
In Germany Valentine’s Day seems to be celebrated less intense than in Canada. I am sure sales for the above mentioned items go up, too, and people might buy a card to accompany their gift, but I never heard of anyone buying or making dozens of cards and giving them to their teachers or co-workers, or anyone outside their immediate family.
A special gift
Maybe this has changed in the last 6 years, but I know, even if it has, and even if I was still living there, I would not be part of it. I would not have gone out to buy something for my husband, or he for me. For my family and me February 14th is a special day, but for a different reason. It still has to do with love and a gift, but not with a saint we know almost nothing about. That day, 18 years ago, our youngest child was born. He is a gift that is impossible to top, just like his brother and sister are.
I still got something for February 14th, and I gave something to my husband. He brought in wood, made a fire and left me a nice, warm house before he went to work. I made him breakfast and his lunch, and he will think of me when he eats it. This morning, while we were sitting at the breakfast table, talking about the commercialization of Valentine’s Day and that we deliberately don’t take part in it, he said to me: “I love you all year, not just today.”
In a few days we will celebrate our wedding anniversary, this year our 28th. In all those years we came to realize, that to us, it is not important to do flowers, chocolates or jewellery, or cards for that matter, on a particular day, but to show our love to each other EVERY day, no matter how small the gesture might seem, and to turn each day into our own Valentine’s Day.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you!