Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine Sweets!St. Valentine’s Day, what is it exactly? Is there a historical significance to this holiday, or is it just another retail gimmick to guilt poor unsuspecting people into spending their hard earned money? Considering it involves flowers, chocolates, and words of love declared on a Hallmark card, one would think it was a holiday specifically designed for and by women. I decided it was time to do some research and find out. It seems there are several different reasons given for St. Valentine’s Day.

The legend I like best was about a priest in third century Rome. Apparently the Emperor Claudius didn’t want his soldiers getting married. He thought it made them fight better. I guess a bunch of uptight, grumpy guys could be better fighters but I kind of doubt it. Anyway, Valentine decided to go ahead and help them marry their sweethearts in secret. Of course when he got caught, the Emperor had him killed.

There is also a legend that Valentine was helping to save the Christians from the Romans. He fell in love with the prison warden’s daughter and before he was killed sent her a message that ended with, “From your Valentine.” I’m not sure about that one. I mean, how would he have met her? It gives a whole new meaning to “take your kids to work” day!

Then of course there is the reasoning given behind pretty much every holiday we have now. The Christians tried to get the pagans to convert and just combined their similar holidays. Viola! We have a new holiday! And everything revolved around fertility in those days! But then I guess it does now-a-day’s also, they just use a different word for it. So, once again there was match making, lovey dovey stuff, and all things combined to make what is known today as St. Valentine’s Day.

St. Valentine’s Day really started to be celebrated with card giving around the 1700’s. Today we have added the chocolates, flowers, some jewelry, and made it a popular day to tell your sweetie how much you love them, and maybe ask that all important question, “Will you marry me?”.

I think we should have a Day After St. Valentine’s Day to cheer up all of the people who got their heart’s broken, rejected, or just generally forgotten by the one they love. We could send out cards that say something like, “Cheer up! There are more fish in the sea!” and instead of chocolate we could sell buckets of ice cream. Dairy Queen would love it! Seriously though, getting your heart broken isn’t fun and can be an unfortunate side effect of the holiday of love.

I read somewhere, and I can’t remember who wrote it, but a big reason we have holiday’s is to break up the monotony of everyday life. I believe this is very true. If we didn’t have the random birthday, wedding, holiday celebrations, our lives would just be a series of rising in the morning, going to work, going back to bed, and repeat.

The bottom-line for me, I celebrate it because it’s fun and it gives me an excuse to indulge my love of baking. Oh, and another chance to spoil my kids, which is always fun! Happy Valentine’s Day!

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