Was there a saint of love? Despite myths surrounding the "real" Saint Valentine, this holiday likely owes its origins to Medieval English poet Chaucer.
At a time of growing romance around ideas of forbidden courtly love, he penned a poem that referenced the yet-to-be-consecrated holiday with the following line:
"For this was on Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird comes there to choose his mate."
This mention, in turn, inspired the sending of love notes referred to as "valentines," and ultimately, the unlikely wintertime holiday that we associate with roses and all-things-romance today.
But as with all cultural celebrations, this one has changed over time. No longer just for sweethearts, Valentine’s Day has become a time to share sentiments, sweets, and those little heart-shaped cards with everyone near and dear to show we care.
Here are some ways to commemorate the holiday weekend from home:
Celebrating with kids? Bake a special treat together and let the young learners in your life help out! According to recent research, allowing children to participate in household tasks may be the key to raising kids who want to help out as adults. Just be sure to scale the activity to their skill level. A preschooler may be able to hold the mixing bowl steady while you stir, and a school-age child might measure out ingredients, while a teen may be ready to take on managing the oven with supervision. Imagine how much more they will savor these healthy cookies that they’ve helped to make themselves.
Planning to spend the holiday with significant others? Take the pressure off. Take a night off from housework. Order take-out if you can spring for it, or make food ahead of time. Use paper plates so no one has to wash the dishes for tonight. Watch a favorite movie together, or enjoy some music from our digital collections. Read about the places you’d like to go together. Dance in your kitchen. Reminisce about the past and dream of what the future may bring.
Flying solo this February 14th? Go for Palentine's Day with your favorite friends, or choose to be your very own valentine and take a moment for some much-needed self-care. You might cuddle up with a favorite movie or a new book from our catalog, or try a moment of mindfulness with In Joy, Take Care, a discussion on the joyful act of mindfulness. Write a love note to yourself, or spend some time taking stock of all that you’ve experienced this year. And don’t forget the special treats!
This holiday is practically synonymous with chocolate, and what would life be without it? Unfortunately, most cocoa is not ethically-sourced. Make some virtual noise this Valentine’s Day to urge chocolate-makers to end the practice of slavery in cocoa farming. Let’s rally for a new era of equity as sweet as the chocolate we enjoy.
Still determined to make it a night out on the town? Be sure to get your booster and have your vaccine card ready at the door!
Wishing you a very happy Valentine's Day from the Free Library!