Valentine’s Day began as St. Valentine’s Day, a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus. February 14th first became associated with romantic love during the High Middle Ages as the tradition of courtly love was then flourishing. During 18th century England, this day evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending Valentine cards. (National Day Calendar)
Valentine’s Day, also called Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is celebrated annually on February 14. It originated as a Christian feast day honoring one or two early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine and, through later folk traditions, has become a significant cultural, religious, and commercial celebration of romance and love in many regions of the world.
There are a number of martyrdom stories associated with various Valentines connected to February 14, including an account of the imprisonment of Saint Valentine of Rome for ministering to Christians persecuted under the Roman Empire in the third century. According to an early tradition, Saint Valentine restored sight to the blind daughter of his jailer. Numerous later additions to the legend have better related it to the theme of love: an 18th-century embellishment to the legend claims he wrote the jailer’s daughter a letter signed “Your Valentine” as a farewell before his execution; another tradition posits that Saint Valentine performed weddings for Christian soldiers who were forbidden to marry.
The 8th century Gelasian Sacramentary recorded the celebration of the Feast of Saint Valentine on February 14. The day became associated with romantic love in the 14th and 15th centuries when notions of courtly love flourished, apparently by association with the “lovebirds” of early spring. In 18th-century England, it grew into an occasion in which couples expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”). Valentine’s Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards. In Italy, Saint Valentine’s Keys are given to lovers “as a romantic symbol and an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart”, as well as to children to ward off epilepsy (called Saint Valentine’s Malady).
Saint Valentine’s Day is not a public holiday in any country, although it is an official feast day in the Anglican Communion, and the Lutheran Church. Many parts of the Eastern Orthodox Church also celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day on July 6 in honor of Roman presbyter Saint Valentine, and on July 30 in honor of Hieromartyr Valentine, the Bishop of Interamna (modern Terni). Source: wikipedia
5 Easy Ways to Say ‘I Love You’
(Family Features) If gift-giving isn’t your strong suit, occasions like Valentine’s Day are likely to bring on stress and worry, but procrastinating will only serve to elevate your unease.
Follow these steps to simplify your shopping, and while you may not come to love the task of finding the perfect gift, your loved one will undoubtedly appreciate your effort.
- Browse for ideas online. Many retailers offer special promotions and gift idea sections on their websites, so finding inspiration can be as easy as visiting the sites of your loved one’s favorite stores. There are also dozens of articles online to help get the ideas flowing. Searches such as “gifts for horse lovers” or “Valentine’s gifts for a new boyfriend” will reveal a long list of ideas to peruse.
- Keep it simple. Although the advertising industry works hard to convince consumers otherwise, Valentine’s Day isn’t really all about the bling. Sure, a pretty bauble is a welcome gift, but there are plenty of ways to show your affection that don’t require spending a month’s salary. A heartfelt card paired with a memento of a meaningful event or place in your relationship sends the same loving sentiment.
- Make it a (different) date. For many couples, navigating the demands of work, kids and life make spending time together a luxury. Instead of fighting crowds at busy restaurants on the official date, celebrate your love on a day of your own choosing, when you can relax and enjoy the time together without the pressure to rush through dessert so your table can be flipped for the next waiting couple.
- Give blooms a boost. A dozen long-stem red roses is a beautiful gesture, but unless your intended rose receiver is a strictly traditional type, try adding a little spice to your floral arrangement. Go for a bouquet in her favorite color, or have the flowers arranged in a practical vessel she can reuse to remember the occasion, such as a cocktail shaker or a watering can.
- Go ahead, gift yourself. It may seem counter-intuitive, but finding a gift you’ll enjoy may inspire an idea for your loved one. The trick is finding something you can share together, whether it’s tickets to a show or his and hers mugs for enjoying your favorite brew. Just be sure the item is something your intended will share your enthusiasm for, or you may as well go buy a blender.
Find more ideas to simplify every occasion at eLivingToday.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
7 Valentine’s Day Date Ideas to Break from the Norm
(Family Features) If you’re feeling pressure to plan the perfect Valentine’s Day date, it may be time to veer away from tradition. While flowers, chocolates and dinner for two is a classic, thinking outside the box can make for just as romantic of an experience.
Consider these simple date ideas to reduce stress and make your day extra special.
Take a Dance Class
Learning something new together can be a great way to bond with your significant other. Research dance studios in your area and book a lesson for a night out. Many studios offer new or first-time discounts and typically have a variety of lessons available from ballroom to salsa, cha cha and more. If dancing isn’t really your thing, consider another skill-building class you can do together like pottery, cooking or painting, for example.
Recreate Your First Date
Take a trip down memory lane and go back to the beginning of your relationship by recreating your first – or a favorite – date. Whether you went bowling, mini golfing, to dinner and a movie or something else entirely, reliving the past can be a special way to connect and show your partner how much you care.
Plan an Indoor Picnic
If it’s too cold outside for an actual picnic, clear some space in your living room and throw down a blanket. Pack a basket of finger foods like sandwiches, cheese and crackers, fruit, a bottle of wine and dessert for a romantic meal for two in the comfort of home.
Book a Staycation
A getaway doesn’t have to mean going far from home. Become tourists in town by booking a night at a nearby hotel and visiting some local landmarks you’ve been wanting to check out or haven’t experienced in a while. A simple break from routine can make for an enjoyable escape, even if you’re only a few miles from home.
Schedule a Photoshoot
If the last time you had your photo professionally taken was on your wedding day or a family vacation, hire a photographer for a couples photo session, and use it as an opportunity to create fun memories together. Many photographers offer mini sessions, which only take 15-30 minutes, leaving time for a night out afterward. For an inexpensive option, have a friend take a few casual pictures or use a selfie stick to help document your date.
Cook Dinner Together
Restaurants are often booked up on Valentine’s Day, so try something different this year and make a special home-cooked meal together. Whether you make a tried-and-true favorite or whip up something new, like a heart-shaped dish, you’ll bond over the experience while creating a tangible (and hopefully tasty) reward once the oven timer dings. Then dim the lights, play some soft music and light some candles to create a romantic ambience while enjoying dinner together.
Go On a Road Trip
Take a day – or a weekend – and venture to a destination you haven’t been before on a romantic Valentine’s Day getaway. Even if traveling far away isn’t possible right now, exploring a town or two over allows you to check out new restaurants, stores or other attractions and get out of your comfort zones.
Find more ideas for celebrating Valentine’s Day at eLivingtoday.com.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash
5 Timeless Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas
(Family Features) On a day that signifies the importance of love and companionship, many people find it rewarding to show their loved ones just how much they mean. If you’re in the gift-giving spirit this Valentine’s Day, you may find a bit of inspiration with these ideas.
Just remember, whether you’re celebrating the relationship with your significant other or showing appreciation for a friend, the best gifts come from the heart.
- Food – If your partner is a foodie, a Valentine’s Day date is an obvious choice. Make a reservation at his or her favorite restaurant or opt for takeout and enjoy quiet time together in the comfort of home. Satisfy that special someone’s sweet tooth with a classic box of chocolates or create a personalized candy basket full of guilty pleasures.
- Jewelry – Whether you’ve been together a year, a decade or more, it’s a perfect opportunity to splurge for a gift he or she will cherish for a lifetime. Necklaces, bracelets, earrings, anklets, watches and more all make for perfect gifts that can often be customized with engravings like names or important dates.
- Experiences – Oftentimes, the gift of moments together means more than a trinket. Consider the things you enjoy doing side by side and schedule a day or weekend to do nothing but your favorite activities. Book a tour at a local museum, find tickets to the next big game, sit frontstage for a favorite band or road trip to a nearby attraction for new sights and sounds.
- Subscriptions – Gifts don’t always need to be sentimental. Sometimes, they can be downright practical. Creating an account for a new streaming service or music platform, signing up for monthly food or wine gift boxes and buying ticket packages for a favorite local team are all gifts that keep on giving.
- Handwritten Notes and Flowers – Take time to write what you appreciate most about your special someone – personality traits, favorite memories, thoughtful gestures and why they’re important to you – and pair your note with favorite flowers. Gifts may spark a smile, but sharing a moment of connection offers a reminder of what you’re celebrating in the first place.
Find more Valentine’s Day gift ideas by visiting eLivingtoday.com.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash
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