We may think of Valentines Day as a very modern, commercial holiday. Some of us are aware of its connection to a martyred Roman bishop named St. Valentine who married young couples in secret. But the worlds most popular love fest can actually be traced back to a somewhat bawdy pagan festival called Lupercalia, held every year in Roman times on February 15.
Then theres chubby-cheeked Cupid, now a cartoony arrow-armed love angel but once a Roman demigod and son of Venus, the goddess of beauty, sex, fertility and prosperity.
And the billion dollars in Valentines candy we devour every year? We can thank the Aztecs of Mexico for that one. In fact, 15th century emperor Montezuma (yes, that Montezuma) believed eating chocolate on a regular basis made him more virile and better able to serve his harem.
Clearly todays Valentines celebrations are tamer and more romantic than they used to be. But no less important to our relationships woe to the boyfriend or husband who forgets to honour his special Valentine and to the economy the holiday of love generates more than $110 million in sales of chocolate in February across Canada.
Not receiving a gift when youre expecting one can make for a depressing day. So if you and your better half want to do away with gifts for Valentines Day, make sure youre both firmly on board.
That said, it really is the thought that counts. So even if youre on a budget consider these ways to give from the heart without forking out too much from the wallet:
- Be together: Take the day off and drive out into the country or go hiking or skiing.
- Make it by hand: Bake their favourite cookies, cake or candy, or create a scrapbook of your memories together.
- Something that lasts: Flowers and chocolate are romantic but theyre gone in a week. Instead, consider an item youve both had your eye on a new TV, his and hers mittens, or a rose plant instead of cut roses.
- A romantic home-cooked meal: Dining out may be one of the most popular ways to celebrate Valentines but a delicious meal youve prepared yourself can be more memorable an inexpensive.
- Single? Why not spread the love: Valentines Day doesnt have to only be about romantic love, how about love for those in need? Consider making a donation on behalf of your special someone to someone else who can really use the support. Or how about simply performing random acts of kindness like holding the door open for a stranger or handing the person in line in front of you at Starbucks some change when you notice theyre short.
If, on the other hand, you and your love dont mind splurging for Valentines Day, National Geographics travel editors chose these destinations as the most romantic:
- Big Sur, California
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Taj Mahal, India
- Zanzibar, Tanzania
- Paris, France
- Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Venice, Italy
- Kauai, Hawaii
- Rome, Italy
- New York, New York
- Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada
- Bora Bora, Society Islands
- Savannah, Georgia
What are your Valentines Day plans? Are you saving or splurging on the one you love this year? We always love hearing what you have to say!
Did you know?
Which of the following Valentines Day facts are true or false?
- 50% of cards are purchased within six days of Valentines
- North Americans consume 25lbs of candy a year
- We spend more than $60 on gifts for our Valentine&
- And $5 for our pets!
- Men spend twice as much as women on Valentines gifts
(Answers: All True!)