So far, I’ve shared my Valentine’s Day Gift Guide as well as some food and drink ideas for a romantic V-day. Now it’s time for a brief history of the holiday! Do you ever wonder what these holidays are for? I always want to know, so I looked into the history of Valentine’s Day, and what I found out is that no one really seems to know.
Here’s what we do know, sort of: Pope Gelasius declared February 14th a day of celebration in honor of Saint Valentine in the year 496. Strangely enough, nothing is known of Saint Valentine, other than his name and that he was buried north of Rome. Historians haven’t completely nailed down how this turned into a romantic holiday, but it seems that it came about in the 14th century, thanks to Geoffrey Chaucer and his contemporaries. Before that time, no saint named Valentine had ever been mentioned as a patron of love.
Anywho, over the centuries V-day evolved into the holiday we celebrate today. Mass production of Valentine’s Day cards began back in the 1800s, when symbols like hearts and images of Cupids became closely associated with the holiday. It’s funny – I remember being a little girl in school – we all shared cards on Valentine’s Day, and it was so cute and sweet. Remember what a big deal it was? If you liked someone, you hoped they’d give you a special card or valentine. I wish it still felt that way. As an adult, it turns into a holiday with so much pressure to spend a lot of money. I wish we could all vow just to keep it simple like when we were ten or twelve, such a sweet place to be and so freeing to be able to just do whatever you want.
Now, V-day is a nearly $17 billion industry (crazy, right?). And while it is fun to spend dollars on your significant other or friends, the 14th doesn’t have to cost a penny. And those non-material gifts, like a cute and sweet letter, bike ride together, picnic, photos, videos, etc…are the most green and often most memorable.
I remember the first Valentine’s Day that my husband and I spent together. We weren’t veg yet. For dessert, I knew he liked pears, so I made him a pear dessert. My Candied Ginger Pear recipe from The Kind Diet is an updated version of that – it’s perfect for Valentine’s Day! For a bunch more Valentine’s Day dessert ideas, check out page 179 of The Kind Diet or browse the Kind Recipe Gallery. Whether you’re flying solo, cooking with your significant other, or hanging with a new flame, I hope you have a cozy, kind V-day.
How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day?