Interestingly, in many places in the world, Valentine’s Day is a time to share love with friends as well as lovers. In some Latin American countries like Mexico, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico, Valentine’s Day is known as “Día del Amor y la Amistad” (Day of Love and Friendship). In Guatemala it is known as the “Día del Cariño” (Affection Day). Finland refers to the 14th as “Friend’s day”.
So how did it get so tied up with couples? The origins of Valentine’s Day are not clear, most likely it came about because of fertility festivals in Europe over 2,000 years ago that would have occurred in the middle of February. Many also believed that birds chose their mates at this time of the year. The connection with romantic love was made in England when the famous poet, Chaucer, wrote a love poem to celebrate the engagement of King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia and from then on, February 14th became associated with lovers.
According to the 2011 Census, over 25% of Canadians are living alone. So what does Valentine’s Day mean today? Many have found new ways to make the dull month of February a bit more fun—by making this Valentine’s Day a joyful time with people you care for and love.
Here are some ways to celebrate Valentine’s day, 2013-style:
- Send cards or notes to anyone who you appreciate in your life: the babysitter, dog walker, teacher, coach, hair stylist, bookkeeper, etc.
- Think of someone you know living alone, or going through a tough time and consider leaving a plant on their doorstep or delivering a small gift.
- Have your children bring a small gift to someone elderly living on your street. It can be their drawing, flowers or a box of chocolates.
- Set a date with single friends, whether or not you’re single. Make it a girls or boys night out.
- Make a phone call to your elderly relatives and parents.