From your Valentine

Valentine’s Day can evoke mixed feelings. The “day of love” can be an endearing time for couples, but a lonely, miserable one for many singles.

Whether you are one to sulk over this holiday or enjoy it, you may want to know about the origins of Valentine’s Day. Do you know where the name “Valentine” come from? The most famous legend has it that the Roman Emperor Claudius II (213-270) decided single men were better soldiers at war, and therefore outlawed marriage for young men in the Empire. Against this prohibition, a man named Valentine secretly married couples. When Claudius discovered what Valentine had been doing, he ordered him executed, making the figure a martyr and a saint.

But why February? In the Middle Ages, the French and British noted that mid-February marked bird-mating season. Taking note of nature’s amorous inclinations, it became popular for couples to send cards to each other. The oldest known valentine letter, sent by the Duke of Orleans to his wife in 1415 when he was locked in the Tower of London, is preserved in the British Library.

Today, this holiday is frequently seen as a mere commercial venture that brings more heartbreak to the heartbroken. Many single women, in particular, feel that if they don’t have a date they are less worthy, highlighting the unfortunately stigma that has women defined by who they are dating. It’s a powerful holiday, both emotionally and commercially: In the US, Valentine’s Day brings in an overall profit of $1 billion, approximately 17% of the market of all holidays, including Christmas. One of the more ridiculous facts is that leading up to February 14, UPS ships 14.8 million flowers from Colombia and Ecuador to North America, with most of those being roses.

Even though Valentine’s Day is disliked by some people, it can be an opportunity for those who seek a romantic edge in a first date. So if you are crying over being “forever alone,” don’t. Just do something. If you are single, here is a list of ten fun things you can do during Valentine’s Day:


1. Make your day a sweeter one and bake. Here are some yummy Valentine’s recipes.

2. Do something helpful by volunteering locally. Scientific research show that kindness has a chain reaction. So, to make everyone’s Valentine’s Day a happy one, be kind.

3. Pamper yourself. On this day, loving yourself should be a priority. I suggest a mani-pedi at Spa des Jardins or a massage at Buddha Spa.

4. Indulge in the artistic world by going to the new exhibition on David Bowie at MIS (Museu de Imagem e Som).

5. Exercise to enhance the flow of endorphins and relieve stress.

6. Plan a sleepover that includes a Ritual of Saint Valentine, like  Monica, Phoebe and Rachel do in the Friends episode “The One with the Candy Hearts.” Just make sure you don’t start a fire!

7.Go to the movie theater with your girlfriends or guy friends. Some movie suggestions are The Book Thief and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Book your tickets here.

8. Find something new to love instead of someone else to love. Try yoga!

9. Watch the video of Single Ladies by Beyoncé.

10. Bring your friends together for a Valentine’s Day game, Secret-Santa style. That way, everyone gets a gift for the holiday.