Everyone has a Valentine’s Day rant, whether for or against. However, have you ever heard someone rant for both? Cuz that’s my route.
Valentine’s Day was originally planned to be the celebration of three different martyrs for the Christian faith who all happened to be named Valentine. They all died very bloody deaths at different times throughout history, and, quite honestly, they do not get enough credit for standing up for what they believed in, much like most of the martyred saints in the Catholic Church. We should remember and respect people who are willing to die for their beliefs, and there is a theory floating around out there that the reason we wear so much red for Valentine’s Day is to represent the blood of the martyrs (although, according to others, the color that you wear on Valentine’s Day now could indicate something very different).
Now, the modern person sends valentines to loved ones, whether it is a romantic partner or otherwise. Allegedly, we get the idea of giving valentines to each other from a legend attached to the first Saint Valentine, who gave a little note on a scrap of paper (what was written on it, who knows) to a girl that he had fallen in love with, signed “from your Valentine.” To add to the romantic nature of this first Valentine, it is possible that he was imprisoned when Claudius II was Emperor of Rome for refusing to stop marrying young Christian couples.
From that standpoint, I understand the romantic aspect of this holiday. With this history of Valentine’s Day in mind, I’m all for remembering and celebrating it. That being said, I despise the way we celebrate it today.
First of all, I want to encourage everyone to wear colors other than red and pink. Not because of what those colors allegedly symbolize in the romance-seeking codes of the day, but because I feel that blood and flesh are far too over-represented. That’s right: the red symbolizes the blood of the martyrs. But the martyrs didn’t just bleed! Personally, I prefer wearing black and blue on Valentines day, to make sure some bruise colors are represented. Not that you have to wear those colors, but come on! Enough with the red and pink!
[I fully recognize that the color suggestion is not new to those of you hosting anti-Valentine’s parties. A suggestion, if you are one of those individuals: action movies with lots of explosions are great choices for a group movie, especially if they make fun of the romantic angle. My personal favorite is, ironically, RED.]
Now, this is the big one: don’t let Hallmark tell you when to be romantic! So many couples build up Valentine’s Day as this huge romantic day of the year, and don’t hold all the other days of the year up to the same standard. Hallmark cards are great, and if you get one from a loved one, it’s a wonderful feeling, but you don’t have to wait for Valentine’s Day to reach out like that!
Stick it to the man and be romantic on other days: bring your partner flowers or chocolate on random days when it isn’t expected. Write love letter on a Monday or serenade your partner after they’ve had a long work day. That is infinitely more romantic (and sweeter, in the long run) than doing romantic things on Valentine’s Day, when the corporations are telling you to do things!
Thankfully for me, I’m with a partner that makes every day romantic, and he’s right there with me in *not* celebrating Valentine’s Day, at least not in the traditional sense. What he has planned for our celebrations, I have no idea. I just know we’re not going to be uber-romantic on Valentine’s Day. Personally, I’m going to reread the accounts of the Saints Valentine, to remember them as I feel I’m supposed to. And then go out and get chocolate, because everyone needs chocolate, always.
One of the best things the History Channel has done (other than ruin the name of history with aliens and unsupported conspiracy theories–no one can deny that they are very good at that) has been to post an article about the history of Valentine’s Day. If you want to read more about the background of this holiday, go check it out! And don’t forget that chocolate goes on sale on the 15th!
[Authors note: I know that this isn’t exactly something that I’ve rediscovered, but remembering things for what they are supposed to be remembered for is a passion of mine that I want to continue encouraging. This is not the first time I have ranted about a historical topic, nor will it be the last. I guarantee it.]