It is commonly believed that St. Valentine's Day is celebrated to offset the pagan holiday Lupercalia, a festival celebrated February 13-15 to ward off evil spirits, purify the city of Rome, releasing health and restoring fertility. This year, in 2013, we also celebrate Fat Tuesday today, 2/12 and Ash Wednesday tomorrow, signifying the beginning of Lent in the Catholic church. One St. Valentine was clubbed to death and beheaded by the Emperor Claudius in 269. Hardly a romantic ending even for a Bishop!
Valentine's Day, the mid-February 'holiday' that really isn't a holiday. The banks and other businesses and the government are open. Most restaurants take reservations and offer couples the opportunity to pay extravagant prices to dine out with special menus on this day. The stores are filled with red, white, pink and heart shaped items that they expect us to buy and exchange with our loved ones. To me, Valentine's Day is a Hallmark holiday, a marketing ploy to get us to spend our money on things we don't need and probably don't want. Yes, a beautiful card is welcomed and enjoyed. But I don't need flowers, candy, balloons or a 6 foot teddy bear to impress me. I'd rather my sweetie Mike just spend the evening with me at home with our cell phones turned off. Its one of several non federal holidays that I refuse to take evening calls at home with my overseas colleagues.
So while I tend to shy away from showering him with the commercial offerings for St. Valentine's day, I do have a good, strong, faithful heart and appreciate quilts with hearts, heart patterns and shapes. I recently made about a half dozen heart shaped baskets to sell to friends that asked me to make them. I do have heart shaped lights in my front window at home to ward off the winter blues and my office walls are adorned with several Valentine's quilts that I have made. Judith Ripka, the famous jewelry designed with her store in NYC, uses hearts in many of her stunning pieces of bling. She loves hearts and freely designs her gorgeous jewelry to include hearts whenever she can. Both of my dogs have heart shaped dark patches on their little white bodies.
Getting to the heart of the matter, love is whatever you make of it and we believe that its not up to Hallmark to tell us when we should be demonstrating that to one another. It would be a sad state of affairs if we only took one day in the year to tell each other how much we really mean to each other. Make a habit of sharing your love and affection for those closest to you and the world will be a happier place for everyone.