Valentine’s Day is mere weeks away. Warms my heart, it does.
Now, should you be tempted to get all indignant, ranting and railing about how you refuse to celebrate “The Greeting Card Holiday,” just don’t.
Valentine’s Day, you see, has been around long before Hallmark.
Without getting into particulars, let’s just say it’s been in existence for, oh, roughly forever. Seems it began as a celebration of Saint Valentine–which Saint Valentine remains something of a mystery. Still, sainthood is involved.
The whole lovely-dovey business? We catch sight of that in Chaucer’s Parlement of Foules (1382):
For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
Translation: For this was on Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.
You can’t even blame ‘roses are red, violets are blue’ on the likes of American Greetings. That little ditty, first published in a collection of English nursery rhymes called the Gammer Gurton’s Garland, dates back to 1784:
The rose is red, the violet’s blue,
The honey’s sweet, and so are you.
Thou art my love and I am thine;
I drew thee to my Valentine:
The lot was cast and then I drew,
And Fortune said it shou’d be you
See what I mean?
Sure, greeting card companies jumped on the bandwagon–they’d be ridiculous not to–but it is most certainly not their holiday.
It is so much more.
It’s a celebration grounded in self-sacrifice and devotion; it’s a day intended to remind us of our most precious treasures–those we love; a day intended to provide us an excuse to tell them as much in our own special way.
In that, it seems a pity to forgo the festivities–especially if you live in a country where it is allowed.
Still, if you haven’t the stomach for it, as least come up with a plausible explanation: hues of pink and crimson make you queasy, for instance; you quite detest the likes of pretty much every one; you prefer to wallow in self pity; what have you. With that, the rest of us will nod and smile sweetly, while eating our weight in chocolate covered cherries, sipping bubbly, and recovering from a long-day handing out goofy little Valentine’s to those we cherish.