The Advocate

Romantic stressors cloud holiday’s origin

Flowers, balloons, eclipse Valentine's Day pagan values, ritual

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Romantic stressors cloud holiday’s origin

By Roxana Amparo, Associate Editor

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The red and pink colors displayed proudly on Valentine’s Day were not always roses and balloons.

Instead, the holiday’s hues came from a bloody tradition that lacks the romance it is thought to embody today.

During Roman times the tradition of the romantic day started off as the Lupercalia festival, an annual fertility celebration celebrated mid-February where men sacrificed dogs and goats and slapped the women with the hides of the slain animals.

As shocking as it appears, the act had Roman women lining up because it was believed to bring fertility — it lacks the chocolate and flowers of today’s celebration, but it is an interesting concept nonetheless.

It wasn’t until the 1300s that Valentine’s Day became associated with love and romance when English poet Geoffrey Chaucer recited the poem titled “The Parliament of Fowls” during a royal feast on Feb. 14, 1383.

During the celebration’s early years love letters and hand-made sentiments were popular. Entrepreneurs in the United States started producing Valentine’s Day cards in the 1840s.

Today, spending countless dollars on stuffed teddy bears and chocolate is sweeter than slapping your lover with a slayed animal.

Valentine’s Day isn’t what it used to be. Now, the size of the teddy bear or the density of the bouquet measure love.

Unlike haunting Roman traditions of fertility, the traditional stereotype is for the man to ask a woman to be his valentine.

Sixty-one percent of flower purchases come from men and 39 percent are women, according to history.com.

Sweets and goods are associated with the idea of love and buying goods for that special someone is part of the romantic sentiment that the holiday has come to represent.

It is no surprise 58 million pounds of chocolate are bought during the lead up to the Valentine’s Day holiday, according to Nielson Holdings, a global information and measurement company.

Generally, the man has to come up with a creative way to ask the woman to be his valentine.

But while some wait patiently for their future-to-be valentine to ask them out on a date, some oppose the idea because although it is the “day of love,” some in the U.S. celebrate the day as Single Awareness Day.

Those anti V-Day folks oppose the idea of a romantic candlelit dinner or walk on the beach but instead join together for anti-Valentine’s Day events such as raves or parties, or throwing themselves a pity party alone at home.

And now, through social media, the idea that Valentine’s Day should be celebrated with that special someone has been altered to include those who upload giant teddy bears and bouquets of roses onto Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other online media, all while others busily scroll through their timelines wishing to get a special message.

Although the idea that Valentine’s Day is for pure romance may have been adopted in the 1300s, those opposed to celebrating the day with a special someone can share time with their best friends.

It also can be a day to treat yourself to a special lunch or walk. It is acceptable to spend Valentine’s Day with a friend or even a pet despite what you see on your social media feed.

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Romantic stressors cloud holiday’s origin