February has become known as the month Love because of Valentine’s Day. For those that do not know, the stories of Valentines Day are as follows:
One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. However, the most popular and more romantic legend is that Valentine was a prisoner who actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. https://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day.
But why on this particular day in February? While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus. Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity and but was outlawed—as it was deemed “un-Christian”–at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. https://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day
And naturally as the years progressed we have increasingly commercialised the day, actually losing the true meaning. We now only know valentine’s day as the day to confess your undying love to your significant other or to the person you have been secretly crushing on for the longest time. And we spend tons and tons of cash doing this. Three years into our marriage my husband asked me what I wanted for valentine’s day. And while I usually say nothing but secretly want something, this particular year I really wanted nothing. And then, an AHA moment! I thought why don’t I share love with someone who would not necessarily experience the essence of valentines day. I decided to ‘spread the love’ by buying loaves of bread as well as butter and jam for someone on the street. But then I thought, if I bought all this and instead of giving it to the people I intended to, rather give it to friends or colleagues who who then pay it forward. The idea was that they could then carry on the tradition on valentines day. And thus, The Spread The Love Campaign was born.
I maintain that everyone should experience the joy that comes with celebrating valentines day with a loved one. Go with the commercialism, while it may be capitalistic, the idea is there. Spreading love and joy should never be frown upon. However this does not stop one from sharing the love with others too. If I could leave behind one wish, it would be that people would think of others and treat others with love and respect and if this is done on even one day of the year, well then my life would not have been in vain.