January 20th, 2010
Valentines Day Experiences
ExperienceDays.com offers a wide variety of unique experience gifts to share with your spouse or significant other . Valentines Dinner Cruises, a hot air balloon ride, private dance lessons (for the two of you), and even romantic hot air balloon ride are only a few of the exciting gifts available that will be truly unforgettable.
Of all the special days of the year that are celebrated by large numbers of people (i.e. not personal celebrations, such as wedding or anniversaries), Valentine’s Day is the one most associated with romantic love. It is fitting that, just before the earth gets ready to welcome the beauty of spring, the return of the birds, flowers, and warmer weather, to celebrate also the warmth and beauty of falling in love. Valentine’s Day gives us that opportunity to express our love to that special person, whether our spouse, fiancé or fiancée, or significant other.
St. Valentine: Despite its association with couples and romance, the day is named in honor of St. Valentine, about whom there are several legends and even three possible identities. Traditionally, there were three St. Valentines: one a priest in Rome, who suffered martyrdom under the Emperor Claudius II; another a priest in Interamna (now Terni), who also suffered under the same Emperor; and a third Valentine, an African, who also suffered martyrdom with some companions, but about whom little else is know. The Roman Catholic Church dropped St. Valentine’s Day from the official list of saints’ days in 1969 because the historical data is so unclear, but there are some facts that are mixed in with the legends.
It is said that the first St. Valentine (of Rome), along with St. Marius, helped the martyrs who were being persecuted for their faith. He was arrested and beheaded on Feb. 14, but a legend has it that, before his death, he healed the blind daughter of his jailer, writing her a note signed “from your Valentine,” the prototype for our Valentine’s Day cards according to Catholic.org. Their website makes the point: “Whoever he was, Valentine really existed because archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Saint Valentine. In 496 AD Pope Gelasius marked February 14th as a celebration in honor of his martyrdom,”
Pagan origins: There were two Roman feasts connected with this date (roughly). One was Lupercalia, celebrated in mid-February, on which young men selected a particular young woman to be a sexual partner for the coming year. Naturally enough, when Christianity became the main religion in Rome, the Pope changed this celebration to a chaste feast connected to a saint (Valentine), though the romantic overtones remained in a much gentler form. The second holiday was in honor of the goddess Juno, patron of marriage and married women, and which, according to About.com, also involved selecting a sexual partner for the year. Perhaps the two feasts were really joined into one, as they were celebrated at almost exactly the same time. Cupid, always seen on Valentine’s Day cards, is the god of love in Roman mythology, son of Venus, goddess of love. However, these pagan associations with love and even fertility carried over into the Christian version of the holiday.
Middle Ages: During the Middle Ages, the tradition developed that birds chose their partners on Feb. 14, and this day was dedicated to love, with notes and gifts being sent between lovers (AmericanCatholic.org). Geoffrey Chaucer, well-known for his Canterbury Tales, also wrote a work about the courtship of the birds on this day, called The Parliament of Fowls. In 1415, Charles, Duke of Orleans, while imprisoned in the Tower, sent what is supposed to have been the first Valentine’s card.
Valentine’s Day, Today: Today Valentine’s Day has become a billion dollar industry. Mary Crane of Forbes Magazine estimated on Feb. 12, 2007 that Americans would spend $16.9 billion on Valentine’s Day that year, with each person spending an average of $120, with men spending nearly twice as much as women. The most popular gifts are candy, jewelry, and flowers. However, sometimes a less expensive gift, like a poem or a single rose, can be even more meaningful.
This year, consider making Valentine’s Day extra special by giving the one you love an “experience gift” for the two of you to share. A romantic dinner cruise, a flight in an air balloon, cooking lessons for two are just a few options to make this Valentine’s Day especially meaningful. Check out ExperienceDays.com and explore how you can celebrate this lovely holiday together.