Did anyone notice Valentine’s day was coming up? Someone should probably tell the major retailers and social media platforms? And Brexit deadlines are fast approaching, someone should tell some news outlets… Sense my sarcasm? Let’s start with the history bit as we usually do.
St Valentine has been linked to a couple of historical figures (called Valentine, obvs). One of whom is allegedly Saint Valentine of Rome who was martyred for carrying out secret marriages on soldiers against the wishes of Emperor Claudius II, who outlawed marriage for young men because he felt single men made better soldiers than those with families. During St Valentine’s imprisonment, legend has it that he restored the sight to the blind daughter of his judge, and before he was put to death he wrote a goodbye letter to her and signed off as “Your Valentine”. Sad, no? Let’s lighten the tone…
We celebrate Valentine’s Day all around the world and not necessarily on February the 14th. In fact, in South Korea, couples celebrate a ‘day of love’ every month, each month having a different theme:- the day of hugs in December, roses in May, kisses in June etc. And single people celebrate ‘the black day’ in April by eating black noodles. Not brilliant marketing for the single people… However (!) in Estonia February 14th isn’t just about lovers. It is called ‘Sõbrapäev’. It’s a festival that celebrates friendship. This includes everyone. And in fact, it isn’t just limited to couples or ‘singles’, but family members exchange gifts too.
As well as the Estonian approach I also like the Bulgarian. It’s called ‘San Trifon Zartan’ which means ‘day of winemakers’. Couples, young and old (and middle-aged), celebrate their love with a glass of lovely locally produced wine.
So, if you are single for whatever reason at all, or ‘double’ we can all celebrate on February 14th. I propose we merge Bulgaria’s and Estonia’s Valentine’s days and celebrate the love we have in friendship by drinking locally produced wonderful wine with friends and family. They should put that in any Brexit terms.
Or, if you prefer, you can present your lover with a handcrafted wooden spoon like they do in Wales on the ‘Day of San Dwynwen’ but you’d be too late as that was 25th January.