Why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Today we send our loved ones cards, candy and flowers on 14th of February. But originally, Valentine’s Day was a pagan fertility festival in ancient Rome. An event which lasted three days from roughly the 13th - 15th February and it was known as Lupercalia. (Lupercus was the god of shepherds). Not very much is known about the specifics of how Lupercalia was celebrated, but there are stories of sacrificing animals. The festival was intended to help ward off evil spirits and promote good health and spirit generally as well as fertility. Interestingly, this festival was around long before the Christian man named Valentine of Rome.
Valentine of Rome was said to be arrested under the reign of Emperor Claudius, and there are various stories surrounding his affections for the jailer’s daughter. Read more about these stories online and make of them what you will. Following on from this time, there are then various Christian connotations surrounding Valentine’s Day. However, it was around the 5th Century that the Pope at the time, Gelasius, declared the 14th of February to be St Valentine’s Day, a Christian feast day. You can trace the story further if you are interested, but our focus is now to turn to our top 10 romantic Valentine’s Day ideas.
This list may simply be a basis from which you pick your favorite ideas or it may help inspire you to come up with your own creative ideas for Valentine’s Day gestures of your own! So let’s get started with the list!...
The personal touch...
1. Making cards is one creative place to start. You could use photos of a holiday or special time together. Print it off from your computer if you are unsure of how to approach making one by hand.
2. Writing a poem may seem difficult but you don’t have to make it rhyme. Write down words about how your loved one makes you feel and why you appreciate them. This will still go a long way and show that you care. If you can’t muster a poem or your own words of any sort on paper, then why not quote a passage from Shakespeare, Byron or William Blake amongst countless other well known romantic poets. This will still show you have put thought into expressing your feelings verbally and it can take the pressure off if you are someone of few or little words!
3. Cooking a romantic meal is surely a Valentine’s Day staple. Look up recipe ideas online and buy the ingredients a week or a few days beforehand so that you can feel prepared. Also, it would be one less job to remember on the day itself! Candles and smooth music in the background will also add an ambient atmosphere to your evening. If you are not that much of a confident cook then baking cookies or a cake may be slightly easier for you and you could do this in advance.
4. Making a gift is certainly more time consuming but if you want your gift to be unique then this could be the option for you. However, this is one you will need to prepare and think about in advance of the day! Depending on your creative skills, you could try salt dough models (1 cup each of plain flour, salt and water. Make your objects then bake on a low heat for 3 hours then paint and decorate). Knitting and/or sewing gifts such as cushions, scarves or hats could be another option. But if these sound impossible for you then why not make a mix CD or short video with music for your loved one to watch or listen to in the car? This can be a really thoughtful and creative gift too which you could get a lot of usage out of in the long run. Even a photo scrap book of a recent holiday or one of your time together could be something memorable for you both to cherish. A simplified version of this idea is of course to place a lovely photo of you both in a frame and wrap it in colorful tissue paper.
5. Growing a plant or gifting your loved one some seeds for roses or another flower with a colorful pot could be a very sweet and personal gesture. This would be something unique that would last after Valentine’s Day itself.
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Gestures of Love...
We are not talking about singing from a mountain top here, we’re thinking practical and simple ideas in this list of gestures of love. It may seem small, but offering your time to your loved one can really show them that you care. So here are just a few ideas you could expand upon.
1. Offer to wash and clean their car. It is certainly a job that needs doing and if your loved one agrees, they will appreciate that this took you time and effort. If this is not quite appropriate, then cutting the grass or doing other household chores such as washing the dishes for a week could really go a long way as a gesture to show them that you care.
2. Booking a vacation or spa visit. You may both be about to have some time off together but you haven't made specific plans yet. You could surprise your loved one with a short weekend trip away or a holiday for a future date. Even a trip or vouchers for a spa or pampering idea will show thought and forward planning on your part.
3. Booking tickets for a concert or event. From going to a play, a concert, a sports game or even to the cinema, Valentine’s Day events are likely to be extremely popular, so booking this idea ensures you will both have somewhere special to go on the actual day. It is advisable to book at least a few weeks beforehand. Failing this, renting a film or attending a free event such as a gallery opening would still earn you points!
4. Dinner Reservations. It is always problematic on Valentine’s Day and the weekends around it to book your favorite restaurant. So get in there early and make plans with your loved one and discuss it together, or simply surprise them on the day with the reservation you have made. As with the above idea for booking events, you don’t want to leave this last minute as things will book up quickly around this time.
5. Surprises! From the usual buying candy, cookies, ordering flowers or a personalized gift, there are countless options out there. If planning to propose in your relationship, then Valentine’s Day would certainly be a lovely option and a very memorable one too.
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Happy Valentine’s Day 2015!
Just for fun, here is a cartoon from You Tube channel Simon’s Cat below entitled Smitten. Enjoy!