Nails and Roses – A Valentine’s Affair?
We all know that love is all around at this time of year. You may be scrambling to get a card for a special someone, or planning a friends’ party to celebrate being single. Just to say ‘stick it’ to the whole Valentine’s Day farce.
During these moments you may have let your mind wander and asked the question; how did this holiday come to be? Or have you ever wondered how Valentine’s Day is celebrated in other parts of the world? Well, today I am, as I remove the tiny snowmen art from my client’s nails in prep for some hot pink, sparkle, and rose madness!
It seems like I am still reeling from the Christmas holidays. My house has been just recently de-Christmas-ified but I have clients that say their trees are still up!
I am a small business owner of a salon that is attached to my home. I do gel nails and toes, as well as hair extensions. I love most things about my job. Mostly, the wonderful clientele that I have. Every day I get a rainbow of conversations from these ladies who come from all walks of life. Some of my most colorful have been a Dominatrix, Lawyers and Accountants, Hockey Moms, ladies in open marriages, Psychics and other Entrepreneurial women. They have entertained and inspired me for years.
I look up at my client and she’s saying what she has planned for Valentines with her husband and kids and I couldn’t help but wonder where did it come from?
Turns out there are more legends rather than fact. Most are traced back to ancient Roman times.
According to the most popular ones, Valentine’s Day originated form the reign of Emperor Claudius II, Rome.
Claudius II made an odd decision to ban marriage. His position was that single men made better soldiers without the distraction of lovers and family. However, a priest named Valentine felt badly for these men and continued to secretly marry couples. Eventually he was found out and was sentenced to death for disobeying the Emperor.
The tragic tail goes on that while he awaited his punishment in jail; the priest Valentine fell in love with a young girl who regularly came to visit him. It is believed that she may have been the jailors daughter. A few days before his death, the priest wrote her a love letter and signed it –
– From your Valentine. This letter is believed to be the first ‘Valentine’.
So how did it become this commercialized blend of pink hearts, red roses, and bonbons? Not that most women on the planet would scoff at chocolate. And, where in history, did the connection with a lowly priest who fell into a passion turn into the third largest money making holiday of modern times? All this mass marketing. The tissue boxes taped to the front of the desks of young children to be filled with cards covered in Disney characters littering sparkles all over the classroom floor?
The Origin of Valentine’s Day
In the 14th century a Christian Feast Day became associated with love. A poet, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a poem to honor the engagement of England’s Richard II and Anne Bohemia (1381). This poem of love was given on Feast Day and forever marked it as a day of love.
Over the centuries, the Day of Feast and Love evolved. By the 18th century people started to give gifts and exchanging hand-made cards. This was observed all over England at the time. The cards and gifts were hand-made and resembled the ones we see today, with ribbon, lace, hearts and angels.
Over time with the exploration of the new world followed by its’ colonization the tradition spread across the globe. Commercialization swooped down and here we are, buying into love.
The Greeting Card Association reports that 25% of all cards sent each year are valentines.
Valentine’s Day in Latin America
Although, it is big business in North America and Europe, it has remained less so in Latin America. In many Latino countries, it is an excuse to share love and friendship. Nowhere near the amount of sales happen in these countries. It is referred to as “Día del Amor y la Amistad” (Day of Love and Friendship) in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Mexico. People do “acts of appreciation” for their friends.
In Costa Rica, Valentine’s Day or “El día de los Enamorados” (St. Valentine’s Day) is very popular. In Costa Rica you are never too old to be romantic. The Latino culture seems to be warmer and more romantic during the holiday. Ticos** love to send over the top, flowery text messages and take out ads in local newspapers to profess their feelings to their loved ones even if they are sometimes a little risqué.
Somehow I can’t see my husband taking out an ad in the paper for you all to see. We will probably do what we did last year… get candy and chocolates for the kids and say we love each other, simply sealed with a kiss.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
**Tico – is a person of Costa Rican nationality. Used much like a – Yankee is an American or a – Canuck is a Canadian. This is not derogatory. Ticos and Ticas are proud to be called such. (Tica – for the Costa Rica Ladies)