My Valentine Thoughts and Memories

By Sue Whiteman

Love it or hate it, one thing’s clear Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and this year it is a Leap Year.  February 29th usually occurs every four years and is called a Leap Day.  This means an extra day is added to the calendar and as the sun does not orbit the sun in precisely 365 days, it brings into line earthly time with cosmic time creating a Leap Year as a corrective measure.
Valentine’s Day always falls on February 14th and there are many facts, origins and traditions surrounding this day of romantic love.   It is also a time when traditionally women get to propose marriage to their loved one.  Since ancient Roman times a mid-February holiday was included called Lupercalia which celebrated fertility, a ritual was performed apparently in which men and women were paired off by choosing names from a jar.  In ancient Greece, however, people celebrated the marriage of the god Zeus and the goddess Hera in mid-winter.  According to some historians, they now wonder if these traditions influence the way we celebrate February 14th.
Walking through a well-known shop in my local high street recently, I was informed they had some bright red fluffy heart shaped cushions on special offer.  I had to ask myself who was Valentine and what did he have to do these cushions.  Well, as it turns out not much really.  Very little is known about the real history of this Saint.  One legend tells that he was a roman priest who performed weddings for soldiers forbidden to marry because a Roman emperor believed married soldiers did not make good warriors.  Saint Valentine wore a ring with a cupid on it, a symbol of love, that helped soldiers recognize him and he handed out paper hearts to remind Christians of their love for God.
It is because of this legend, Saint Valentine became known as the patron saint of love, connecting lovers together and setting the groundwork for establishing a holiday of romantic love.  In 1381, a poem written by a medieval author Geoffrey Chaucer recognised the connection between Saint Valentine and love.  Chaucer lived in the middle ages, a time when couples courted each other and made broad romantic statements of love and devotion through poems, songs and paintings celebrating their relationships.
As mentioned earlier, women get to propose this year.  A few leap years ago I did just that, I actually thought my romantic interest would be flattered.  How on earth then did I manage to get it so spectacularly wrong?  It was the worst thing that could have happened.  All I got for an answer was “When I’m ready, I’ll do the asking”.  Well, as you can imagine it turned out a good way to discuss our future together, but we avoided that and I knew in my heart marriage was not on the cards.  Needless to say I was deeply hurt, humiliated and I hate to admit it, bitterly disappointed and it just swallowed me up.
Anyway, that was a long time ago and for me Valentine’s Day is still a painful and embarrassing reminder of a lost love.
For those who just love Valentine’s Day and you have a romantic partner, whatever you do, to avoid any disappointment and hurt feelings make sure you’re on the same page before popping the question.  If you are planning a special surprise, there doesn’t seem to be any rules and you can celebrate the day of love however you want, even if it’s just through self-love.  A nice dinner out, going to the cinema, cooking a fancy meal at home or hosting a Valentine’s Day party are all great ways to celebrate.
You could avoid the celebrations completely, buy yourself some chocolates and flowers, or express your love and appreciation for the people who really matter in your life.
Until next time
Sue Whiteman

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