Valentine is coming, where’s your boyfriend? Your mates are getting flowers. You’re sitting at home, lonely. And so it goes with the hurtful lyrics for many girls, which some find amusing, of course. For those being tagged, it may not be that funny. We have indeed begun the month of love, and for some, the pressure is palpable. The stress of a single date, February 14. It reminds me of a meme I saw, recently, that read, “it’s completely unfair that we have to go from January, the month of financial despair as a result of the festive season, to February, the month of stressing over which gift to give, or receive, and especially unfriendly to the single folks.” Is it just me, or does the famous song, ‘Valentine is Coming’ specifically shame girls as if the pain of being single could be more underlined for them than for their male counterparts? Or, even worse, that they are to blame. I realise that this could be true in the sense that a guy is expected to ask the girl out. And that the decision to accept, or reject, the proposal traditionally rests with the girl. But, really, even in 2023? Nonetheless, today’s point isn’t about feminism. Nor is it about who gets what for Valentine’s Day. My question is simple. Do you believe in the whole ritual of going above and beyond to show your romantic partner how much you care? Do you believe that there should be a designated day set aside for romance, complete with sometimes ostentatious gifts? Valentine’s Day was not initially intended as a day for romantic dates, sending flowers, or receiving other gifts. The day itself bears St. Valentine's name, a Roman Catholic priest from the third century. History has it that Claudius II, the Roman emperor, outlawed marriage in his time because he considered single men to make better soldiers. Then, defying the emperor’s commands, St. Valentine would secretly officiate wedding ceremonies for young couples. The latter believed that love is more powerful than anything else and that nothing should stand in the way of it. But being a priest, he wasn’t for people just living together, because, in his belief, it would then be sinful to do so outside the sacred marriage. He was eventually caught and imprisoned. During his confinement, St. Valentine is said to have restored sight to the prison warden’s blind daughter, whom he befriended and even sent a farewell letter signed, ‘Your Valentine’, before being executed on February 14, AD 269, aged 42–43. The Feast of Saint Valentine, also known as Saint Valentine's Day, was established by Pope Gelasius I in AD 496 to be celebrated on February 14 in honour of the Christian martyr. According to other sources, the day itself may have less to do with the saint and more to do with early Christians’ efforts to ban and replace Lupercalia, a pagan holiday honouring Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, during which names of girls were placed in a box to be drawn out by the opposite sex – resulting in the start of a relationship and, sometimes, eventually leading to marriage. Lupercalia was banned in the fifth century, in 496 A.D., when Pope Gelasius declared February 14, the day St. Valentine was executed, to be a holy day. Then, due to St Valentine’s prior dedication to spreading love, he was then declared a saint of love. The association between Valentine’s Day and romance is only seen later in the 14th century, sparked by the belief that birds pair off for mating in February. So, people would send each other love notes during the season. The day was eventually commercialised, and mass production of cards, along with chocolates, flowers, and other accompaniments, began. As the day became more of a secular celebration, it is worth noting that people’s celebrations became more and more creative. And it’s all very nice. Others, the pessimists among us, would argue that people don’t need a special day to express their love for one another. So, you’d hear those who’d rather celebrate it on February 15, or any other day to prove a point. But, once again, where does it all end? You could choose to do some charity work to demonstrate that the day isn’t just for lovers, you could continue the competition of who gave who a more significant or expensive gift, or you could just stay disappointed because you are single on this day. Whatever you do, do what makes you happy. As long as the goal remains, spreading love, of course.