Valentine’s Day history and suggestions for the holiday of love
By David Zurfluh
I must confess before doing research on Valentine’s Day, I wouldn’t be able to answer a question on its history. So, I did a little digging, and here’s a brief, summarized version.
There were three St. Valentines, who were each martyred for practicing their Christian faith. The first two were killed during the time of the Roman Empire in Europe, and the third was killed in a Roman province of Africa with others. The exact details are unknown.
The first St. Valentine, who was martyred around 270 AD, performed clandestine marriages for Roman soldiers. Marriage for soldiers was forbidden because of the emperor’s belief it would distract a soldier from his duties and loyalty to him. Disobedience resulted in execution for those caught.
St. Valentine wore a very distinctive purple amethyst ring so soldiers wanting to get married could distinguish him from others and approach him covertly to arrange their clandestine marriages.
Legend says that after performing the ceremony, St. Valentine would cut out a heart from parchment paper and give it to the couple to discreetly display and celebrate their love each year.
If you’re like me and have someone special in your life, you try to find something to enjoy as a couple. One past Valentine’s Day, we took an early morning flight from Seattle to San Francisco (a one-and-a-half hour flight with one carry-on), hopped on the train from the airport to downtown, saw the sights, ate a romantic dinner, took an Uber back to the airport and caught a late flight back home.
This year, however, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has put up a few obstacles. Vaccines are on their way to all of us, but a romantic trip like the one we took isn’t a practical option for many people because of the risk of flying, attractions being shuttered and restaurants and bars being closed.
Even trying to do something simple close to your home could be problematic this year. Depending on where you live, you may still be facing severe dining restrictions or limited entertainment opportunities.
However, don’t despair or let pessimism enter your heart. Just reimagine and figure out a different way to make Valentine’s Day fun. Just be grateful you’re not living in the times of the Roman soldier.
Below are ideas I’ve researched to help make Valentine’s Day a joyous one for you and your loved one. If you have kids, you may have the chance to include them, too.
- Have a Parisian night (French food, wine, desserts and coffee).
- Create a waffle bar with your favorite toppings and fruits.
- Bake cookies or other goodies.
- Take an online cooking class for couples.
- Take a mixology class online.
- Do your own wine and chocolate tasting (try it while watching a movie).
- Take a hike/roll.
- Play tourist in your hometown.
- Go for a drive.
- Make a scrapbook.
- Write love letters and read them aloud to each other.
- Do a massage/spa day.
- Watch a sunset.
- Watch the stars at night through a telescope.
- Make a game night (board games or cards, no video games).
- Try a do-it-yourself tarot reading.
- Build a bonfire.
Whatever you choose to do, just remember to make it your day as a couple and fall in love again together.