I was thinking about Valentine’s Day. The images used to convey the day, the sentiment and what the word love actually meant. Do we really need to go banana’s and get roses and cards for our loved ones, or is it a joy to shower the ones we love on a special day each year ? Are we celebrating Valentine’s Day out of guilt, because these days we are not always able to spend as much time as we wanted with our loved ones, or is it just a nice thing to do on 14th February to remember our friends, family, partners and spouse because daily life can be a such a whirlwind ?

Why words ?

Let’s start with the word “LOVE”.  I decided to look it up.

Using dictionary.com I found the usual informative, copious amount of text and explanation, then I saw an interesting link to Visual Thesaurus.

On entering the site and once you have entered your chosen search word, it will appear as a visual diagram with links and pop-up’s when you hover over the word chain where you can see their meaning and relationship.

Wow ! I just love the way the site works. You can even email the definitions, and get T-shirt’s printed with your search query results.


Then,  I looked to the Scottish bard Robert Burns who loved women and wrote to express his feelings about many of his amorous encounters.  

From “Ae fond Kiss”, to songs – one of the most famous is, “Red, red rose”. Perhaps, we need to be more traditional in our approach and return to sending “love notes”, using  Burns inspiration ?

Why Red ?

I began to wonder why so much red at this time of year, it’s not Christmas.  Red, as far as I am aware can be related to sin, passion, courage, danger and fire. Hey, a bit like love itself ! Perhaps I can see the correlation with this colour at Valentine’s after all. But then why have we red at Christmas ?

Why Roses ?

The rose is a rather curious plant which although thorny stemmed, has a fabulous head of petals and perfume. Abundant in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes. The petals can be delicate, and soft while underneath a tough and thorny stem in stark contrast to the sumptuous head. How apt to convey that life isn’t always a bed of roses. A symbol of love.

Why 14th February ?

The origins of Valentine’s Day can be traced back to Roman times, but I have read that the first “Official” Valentine’s Day was celebrated on February 14th in the year 496. A declaration from Pop Galasius honouring either a 3rd century martyred priest or in honour of two priests associated with the 14th of February.

Why Valentine ?

Bishop Valentine undertook Christian marriage ceremonies in Roman times, against the wishes of the Emperor Claudius. Claudius had outlawed marriage between young Romans as he believed that it did not make good soldiers. In the end Valentine was beheaded for carrying out these ceremonies, but on the night of his execution he was able to get a note to his beloved, hence the tradition began of sending “love notes”.

So, from my findings, Valentine’s Day has had a tumultuous past, steeped in history and tradition like most of our customs. It has spread from it’s European beginnings around the world, and is still controversial. Friends say “why just celebrate love on one commercialised day, you should celebrate it every day !”, others think Valentine’s Day is great fun. One thing is definite, that celebrating love will always be a very personal decision, whether it’s emotion is expressed on February 14th or not.