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the meaning of valentine’s day

by Katie on February 7, 2012

Valentine’s Day. Some people claim it is a hallmark holiday that was just created to sell more candy, flowers, and cutesie-poo teddy bears. This is a little negative and it might be true but who cares …Valentine’s day isn’t going anywhere so we might as well make the most of it, eh?

When I think of Valentine’s Day, I picture this spectrum with madly-in-love-couples on one end and sad-angry singles on the other. Ugh! How awful. The problem with this idea is that there is a good side and a bad side and if you aren’t on the good side of the spectrum, then you are upset. Let’s first understand where Valentine’s Day came from before we decide the right way to celebrate this lovey-dovey holiday.

The History of Valentine’s Day

Saint Valentine’s Day celebrates the lives of one or three early Christian martyrs (martyrs are people who were killed for their religious beliefs). Say What? Where’s the love, the flowers, the chocolates? I looked into this and got deeper and deeper into a Wikipedia-spiral and it turns out that there isn’t really a lot of romantic connections to these dudes. Saint Valentine (Valentine means worthy or strong) did die on February 14th, so, at least the date is accurate :)

International Valentine’s Day Traditions

It turns out that Valentine’s Day, or something similar, occurs in almost every culture around the world. Here were some of my favorite international traditions:

Finland: The Finnish people have “Friend’s day” and it is for remembering friends, not just loved ones.

Slovenia: According to a proverb, St Valentine brings the keys of roots, so on February 14, plants and flowers start to grow. Valentine’s Day, for Slovenians, is the first day of work in the vineyards and in the fields. It is also said that birds propose to each other or marry on that day. How cute is that?

Latin America: The Day of Love and Friendship is celebrated with acts of appreciation for their friends.

Guatemala: Guatemalans celebrate “Affection Day”. Hello…

Iran: Esfandegan is an age-old traditional celebration of love, friendship and Earth where Iranians give affection and gifts to loved ones.

The Meaning of Valentine’s Day To Me

I have always enjoyed this holiday, probably because my birthday is on the 13th so it’s like a double whammy holiday for me, but besides that, I remember in school giving and receiving Valentine’s to my classmates. Then, as I got older, it became more about boys, hoping to get a surprise admirer, going on dates with boyfriends and stuff like that. I also had single V-days where I hung out with my friends and we would talk smack about our exes and envy happy couples while indulging in sweets and having a ladies night.

Finally, I figured out the true meaning of Valentine’s Day for me. I like to take this holiday to appreciate my friends, family, and even acquaintances and nice people in the community. I still buy the cheesy valentine cards and give them to all the people I love (and like) just to remind them that they matter to me. I have a younger sister and because I remember what it is like to be her age, I like to surprise her with flowers and be her “secret admirer” every year.

What to do on Valentine’s Day if you are Single

Okay, listen up. Here’s a tip you NEED to get through Valentine’s Day if you are single. You need to love yourself. If you are happy with yourself and with who you are, then you shouldn’t be resentful for failed relationships in the past and you should be faithful that your life and your relationships in the future will turn out just fine because you are a good person.

One thing you can do that will automatically boost your mood is to do something nice for someone else. Maybe think of someone you know who might be a bit lonely on Valentine’s Day and do something nice for them. You will make their day and I promise that you will be thinking about it the rest of your day too.

Cute Things to do on Valentines Day

So, enough with my Valentine’s day philosophy. Here are some other fun ideas of things to do on the big day.

  • Cake Pops! This is a cake in the form of a lollipop…brilliant. Here’s a great blog on how to make them.
  • Hang out with your friends and scrapbook…but no ex-boyfriend bashing.
  • Volunteer at your favorite charity. Animal shelters, coffee shops, charity walks…there is a volunteer opportunity for everyone. Here is a site that will help you find an event in your area.
  • Make an awesome meal for yourself and some others. Fondue, perhaps?
  • Game night! Battle of the sexes, twister, apples to apples…all great ways to have a good time.
  • Not feeling social? Treat yourself to a pedicure/manicure night with candles, bath, and your favorite music.

I hope this blog gave you a better impression of Valentine’s day and that you are now looking forward to it. 7 more days.



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