Happy Valentine’s Day, our annual celebration of love and romance!
And while its associated today with red roses, teddy bears, chocolates and candle-lit dinners for two, its historical roots are anything but cute and cuddly.
Connected to 14 February, it was originally a feast day associated with numerous stories of martyrdom, most particularly Saint Valentine who was executed by the Roman Empire for performing weddings for soldiers forbidden to marry and for ministering to persecuted Christians.
According to legend, Saint Valentine restored the sight to the blind daughter of his Roman judge and wrote her a letter signed “Your Valentine” as a farewell before his execution.
It was not until the 14th century however and the work of poet and author Geoffrey Chaucer that first associated Valentine’s Day with romantic love and the giving of flowers, confectionery and greeting cards, known as “valentines”.
Since the 19th century, our annual celebration of love has gone from strength-to-strength with mass produced greeting cards and florists overrun with orders on what is traditionally their busiest day of the year.
Despite its darker roots, Valentine’s Day is a great reminder for all of us to stop and take the time to show our love and appreciation to those important people in our lives.
If you’re lucky enough to be with the one you love, make today the day you remind them how much they mean to you. Take the time to reminisce about the years you’ve spent together and all the good times, and the bad, as well as the things you have achieved as a couple.
Celebrations like Valentine’s Day however can be extremely tough for those who’ve lost their life-long partners, bringing back memories and amplifying their sense of loss.
If you know someone who you suspect will be feeling sad and lonely on Valentine’s Day then reach out to them, spend time with them and support them and remind them that there are others who love and care for them.
If that person is you, then actively seek out family and friends for support and companionship on the day.
Don’t be afraid to fondly remember and talk about the person you have loved and lost. It can actually be very comforting.
Pull out photos, love letters and share your best memories, or go with family or a friend to visit some of the places that you used to go together as a couple.
If you feel however that you are not coping and need additional support, there are good professional help services you can get in touch with including Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636.
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