Valentine's Day. A celebration of love. A day, a whole day celebrating love and affection. Hurray. Bring it on! I'm single, so I should be one of those people who dread Valentine's Day. I don't.
Valentine's day is associated with romantic love, with courtly love, and the day has popularized the tradition of the sending of cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts. Valentine's Day or Saint Valentine's day has only recently been celebrated as the day of love. The 'day of love' was traditionally 12 March, which is Saint Gregory's day, or 22 February, which is Saint Vincent's day. The patron of love was Saint Anthony, whose day has been celebrated on 13 June. Blimey! That's a lot of love and a lot of days to celebrate.
There was a tradition of sending valentines anonymously, I'm not so sure if this is as true in modern times, although I did receive an anonymous card a couple of years ago and still to this day I don't know who it was from. Other traditions said that, if a woman saw a robin flying overhead on Valentine’s Day, it meant she would marry a sailor. If she saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man and be very happy. If she saw a goldfinch, she would marry a rich person (her happiness upon marrying a rich person does not appear to be determined!).
Why do we need a day to tell us when we should tell people that we love them? Show people that we love them? Surely you should tell and show the people that you love them every day? Are my expectations unrealistic? Or am I just grumpy because no one appears to want to be my Valentine? I think that the people that I love know that I love them; I certainly hope that they do.
Over the years people have always recorded their passionate feelings in love letters, Valentine's day is a good day to remember and celebrate these; such as the famous love letter of Ludwig von BEETHOVEN, which was addressed to his 'Immortal Beloved' (the identity of whom still remains a mystery) and which concludes:
And, well, Valentine's Day, it is a good excuse for a bit of poetry. Personally, I think this is my favourite of all:
How Do I Love Thee?
How Do I Love Thee?
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
This week (10-16.02.14) has been Random Act of Kindness #RAK Week,where we have all been encouraged to promote the well-being and happiness of others through words and actions and kindness. Last week's BLOG was on the topic of kindness. I thought that RAK week was a timely reminder to be a bit kinder to yourself, to promote your own well being and your own happiness too. So, Happy Valentine's Day. Whether you have a significant other or not. Let someone know that you love them. Let me know! Love Yourself! Yes. Let there be love.