Valentine’s Day is a big commercial observance in the UK but a relatively small holiday in the lives of most of the population. It has its place as a romantic celebration of love, and of course to drive sales of flowers, chocolates, restaurant bookings and other transactions associated with the day.
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The symbols of Valentine’s Day include Cupid, the Roman god of love, with his bow and arrow ready to strike the heart of his “victims” with lovesickness. Pink and red hearts also figure prominently. Giving of red or pink flowers, chocolates, greeting cards, and other gifts is part of the tradition. Many couples go out for romantic dinners and spend the whole day together.
Valentine’s Day has few established no roots in romantic love, angels, roses, chocolates or anything else we see on TV and in shop windows. Historically it was a commemoration of the life of a 3rd Century saint called Valentine who was martyred for his Christian faith in Rome.
So, what’s with all the romantic paraphernalia now? You can thank 14th-century English poet and writer, Geoffrey Chaucer, for that. He seems to have made the random connection between February 14th (Saint Valentine’s Day) and the time of year when nature begins sprouting, singing, chirping, buzzing – a time of romance.
Social convention suggests that those in love should be considering what good presents to purchase for their special someone. The shops love the sales, but many also like to remember that it’s just as important to show love in other ways that are most sincere for that particular couple.