Valentine’s Day has deep roots across the globe. In Finland, it’s known as “Friend’s Day”, and in Greece some Orthodox religious traditions celebrate “Hyacinth of Caesarea” a special saint who “protects people in love.” In the U.K., some regional customs celebrate focusing on children such as in the region of Norfolk, a “character called Jack Valentine knocks on the rear door of houses leaving sweets and presents for children.” Japan has an interesting history around this holiday. In the 1960’s due to a translation error in a chocolate-maker’s advertisement, women took more of the lead in giving chocolate to men. Their holiday revolves around giving “the right amount of chocolate to each person.” There is chocolate (“choko”) exchanged among co-workers which may be “giri” (obligation) and “cho-giri” (ultra-obligatory, ‘cheap’ chocolate) versus a better quality chocolate given to a “hon-mei” (loved one) or “tomo” (friend).
This brings me to something special that I read, in the form of a Slovenian proverb: “Saint Valentine brings the keys of roots.” This suggests growth, renewal, and connection.
I offer that we do not need to wait for February 14 for a one day a year ritual of exchanging roses and chocolates to feel renewed, connected, and grow in our relationships.
Although I love roses, chocolates and many of the other traditions we have in the U.S. to celebrate Valentine’s Day, let’s not limit ourselves.
Why not renew our friendships, relationships with our children, our significant others or spouses each and every day of the year?
There’s an easy way to do this, and that is by having the ‘feast of Saint Valentine’ in our homes, once a day, in the form of a shared-meal ritual.
These shared meals don’t need to be formal in order to be special. A bowl of soup or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich shared with someone you care about can have all the same emotional intimacy with someone you love, and make 365 days of Valentine’s memories.
To create your own daily shared-meal ritual, visit my website.