It’s that time again ‘Who’s the Daddy‘, my monthly feature where a Daddy blogger guest posts on my blog, sharing his voice and view on the world right now.

I’ve been utterly overwhelmed by the response from the incredible Daddy blogging community both in the UK and abroad, along with my readers of course- since launching this series last month;  it’s a real privilege to share my blog with such a diverse and talented pool of bloggers writing about parenting and beyond, from their perspective.

This week Papa Tont, Tony Pitt, is sharing this thoughts on Valentine’s Day.

A serving soldier, Tony is a married father of two-a girl and a boy, and in his own words, ‘he’s tired of having to live up to society’s expectations when it comes to being a husband and father’.

Over to Tony-
Daddy Blogger

‘Commercialism has ruined Valentine’s Day’ is a quote I’m hearing more and more of these days.

The exploitation of such celebrations by commercial industries is allegedly taking the romance and sense of occasion out of the event.

But it may surprise you to know that Valentine’s Day was never previously associated with romantic love; more a gesture of sacrificial love.

There have been several Valentines over the centuries, and very little fact is known about the Valentine we associate with February 14; as such the status of Valentine’s day was reduced in the eyes of the church.

There is much speculation about the events of Valentine’s life and death and much is left to legend and imagination.

One legend says that Valentine was imprisoned and interrogated by the Roman Emperor Claudius II with the intent of trying to get Valentine to convert to Roman Paganism.

Valentine refused and tried to convert Claudius to Christianity.

Valentine was executed. Before his execution though, Valentine supposedly performed a miracle and healed Julia, the daughter of his jailer Asterius, of her blindness. The whole family converted to Christianity as a result.

This story was later embellished suggest that on the evening before his execution Valentine wrote a letter to Julia and signed it ‘Your Valentine’, essentially the first Valentine’s card. Julia then planted a pink-blossomed almond tree near Valentine’s grave, and the almond tree remains a symbol of abiding love and friendship to this day.

Another embellishment is that Valentine performed clandestine Christian weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry.

According to legend, in order ‘to remind these men of their vows and God’s love’, Valentine is said to have cut hearts from parchment, giving them to these soldiers and persecuted Christians, a possible origin of the widespread use of hearts on St. Valentine’s Day.

While the custom of sending cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts originated in the UK (yes it’s our fault), Valentine’s Day still remains connected with various regional customs in England.

For instance, in Norfolk, a character called ‘Jack’ Valentine knocks on the rear door of houses leaving sweets and presents for children. Although he was leaving treats, many children were allegedly scared of this mystical person.

None of these legends or folktales have any root in romance though. It wasn’t until Chaucer’s poetry about Valentines in the 14th Century that this link was established.

‘For this was on seynt Volantynys day, Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make’. [For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.]

This poem was written to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia. A treaty providing for the marriage was signed on May 2, 1381. When they were married eight months later, they were each only 15 years old.

So given that Valentine’s Day had nothing to do with romance, how did it evolve into the commercial practice we see today?

Quite simply, it makes good business. In the UK last year, we were expected to spend almost £1bn on our wives, husbands, and prospective partners – a 10% increase on 2013. It’s easy to see why so many are beginning to turn their backs on the occasion. The research also suggested men would spend more, £623m, than women, at £355m.

The worrying thing about the importance we place on these celebrations is how we, as a society, place a stigma against those who don’t celebrate it. 53% of women in America said that they would dump their boyfriends if they didn’t get them anything for Valentine’s Day. No pressure then lads. But what’s happened to romance?

Wiki suggests that, ‘It takes great care, forethought, and creativity to be truly romantic’. So is it that we are just getting lazier and that it’s easy to buy flowers and chocolates rather than truly romance our partners? I think so.

In this busy and time sensitive world we live in, paying someone else to provide the romance is an easy, but expensive short cut.

I truly believe that there is still hope for romance and that it’s not as hard we think. It’s simply about knowing the person you love and then rewarding the little things that we take for granted every day.

What is romantic for one person might not be for another, and that’s where the individuality of it all makes it special. For some, it might be something as simple as having a bath run, with candles lit, when your partner gets home from work, for others it might be just making sure there’s a cup of tea ready without them having to ask for it; others may have a more demanding sense of romance.

My point is, that to simply say, ‘I don’t do Valentine’s Day’ is giving up on romance and something I need to change about myself. Yes, we don’t have to give in to the commercialistic nature of what Valentine’s Day has become, and yes, you shouldn’t just be romantic on one day of the year, but where’s the harm in showing your loved one that you are making that little bit of an extra effort to spoil them, or yourselves as a couple. And it doesn’t have to cost you a penny.

Here is a Twitter post of me not doing Valentine’s:

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 19.23.37

For more of Tony’s posts, read his Papa Tont blog here.

 

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38 Responses

  1. Adrian

    Thanks for the history lesson! I’m also anti-Valentines Day but not romance; similar reasons in that we both rebel against being told ‘this is the day you will feel romantic’ by The Man. Show your love for each other regularly in small or big gestures – from cups of tea to kisses to surprise trips away. But don’t show it with a shit card from the 24 hour garage, some wilting flowers and a bad meal at a crowded local Harvester.

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Ha, agree about the latter, husband would be in the bad books then! Seriously you are right we should be romantic all the time but I do love Valentine’s Day and I love it helps remind us to try and spend some time just for us. Thanks for your comment.

      Reply
  2. Eline @ Pasta & Patchwork

    I never knew the history of all this, it’s so interesting.
    As for the present-day Valentine’s romance, it’s something my husband and I have never done, not even when we first got together. We both agree it’s forced and either one of us should feel able to buy the other something nice or do something special whenever we feel like it. Just because. Which I think is more romantic (and it also makes it less stressful – this way I don’t have make sure I’ve something planned on the “right” day!).

    Reply
  3. Laura @ Life with Baby Kicks

    I never knew the orgins of Valentines day, really interesting!

    This year I am still yet to receive anything from nursery with regards to hearts and flowers and cards, they are running out of time as its his last day in today!

    We don’t do Valentines, though we do do romance which I think is the key distinction! I don’t want the only reason I get romance and dinner and flowers to be because it is the 14th Feb and everyone else is!

    Laura @ Life with Baby Kicks

    Reply
    • honestmum

      That’s fair enough, we were due to go out tonight rather than Saturday but husband isn’t feeling well, romance will have to wait!

      Reply
  4. Jess Helicopter

    I looooooove Valentine’s day! I love all that commercial shit! Flowers, chocolates, fizz…bring it on! The more commercial, the better! Altho for the last few years we’ve not bothered doing anything and this year we’re going to a 90th birthday in God’s waiting room aka the Isle of Wight. Fun times (in no way)! But you know, when the kidzzzz are 25 and we’ve got time to remember that our relationship existed pre-kids of COURSE we’ll be back on it! 😉 Great post Tony!

    Reply
  5. Mel

    Very interesting to find out about the origins of Valentine’s Day. We don’t celebrate it at home, but I do love the cards the children enjoy making for us! #BrilliantBlogPosts

    Reply
  6. International Elf Service

    This is such a good post! I don’t ‘do’ Valentine’s either and find it all to commercial. Occasionally my husband appears with some flowers (not every year at all), which is SO out of character that I’m thrilled to bits and then I secretly do ‘do’ Valentines. Very interesting to read about the origin’s of it all. Thank you!

    Reply
  7. Mim

    Love this post – awesome, Tony 🙂 I do DO Valentine’s Day – I must say I love an excuse to celebrate my relationship. Ok let’s be honest – I love an excuse to eat heart-shaped chocolates. This year though I am waning a little with it.

    PS I’m not sure Jack would get away with that these days 😉

    Mim at http://www.mamamim.com

    Reply
  8. Steph @MisplacedBrit

    Haha, can’t blame the Americans for that then …It was the Brits all along 😉
    Commercialism!! But seriously, isn’t it pretty much the same with Christmas, Easter, the pressure to ‘beat’ last years summer holiday …We buy into it all, because that’s what’s supposed to make us truly happy right? …And believe we’re truly loved?

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Such a great point Steph, I just find it a sweet reminder to make more time for ourselves, I’d love a homemade card from all my boys, doesn’t have to be a grand or expensive gesture. Did remind us we are in need of date night too x

      Reply
  9. Renee @ Mummy Tries

    Fab post Tony, absolutely fascinating to learn the true meaning behind V-Day! Andy & I met less than one week after V-Day and got married exactly five years later, so have always shunned it in favour of our anniversary. Then last year our little fella came along on the 14th Feb, so we now have two reasons to not bother with it 🙂

    Reply
  10. Jeff Page (aka Hectic-Dad)

    Great post Tony.

    The pressure to conform to the “societal norm” of buying stuff on Valentine’s has increased so much in the past years, it’s frightening. At the local high school, several clubs sell flowers they will deliver. They have an assortment of colored ribbons to be attached to designate the flower’s meaning (true love [!], friendship, secret admirer, just friends, etc.). Other clubs sell candy. Signing Valentine’s were all the rage for the past couple of years. This is at the High School (9th through 12th) grade level!

    The pressure starts young and doesn’t seem to let up.

    Wherefore art thou, oh romance of olde?

    Reply
  11. Dominic Cope

    The crazy commercialisation that is Valentine’s Day has lessened it’s appeal. Find the stat of 53% of American women would dump their boyfriends over gifts to be absurd! We’ll be having a fancier than normal dinner at home, simply because we don’t get the opportunity to do much as just the two of us. Good old fashioned romance!

    Reply
    • honestmum

      That sounds like the perfect night to me. Agree it’s ridiculous the US stat on women dumping boyfriends, so silly and trivial!

      Reply
  12. The DADventurer (Dave)

    Good post and I definitely learnt something this morning! We don’t really do Valentines Day either, but I know I need to make up for it with other romantic gestures throughout the year – unfortunately I just don’t think which I need to. That Jack Valentine character sounds a bit dodgy, no wonder the kids were afraid – I received a police caution for handing out sweets and gifts to random kids…

    Reply
  13. Tim

    Great post, Tony – and thanks for hosting, Vicki! Some interesting facts I didn’t know before.

    The rampant commercialisation of Valentine’s is something I find annoying. It so often seems to be an excuse for restaurants to charge double to squeeze you in to a time slot you don’t want and give you inferior service because they’re so busy. It seems to have become so material, like so many ‘event’ days in the calendar.

    As usual, Heather and I will be at home enjoying a quiet evening together in each other’s company. Maybe I’ll cook something nice as it’s on a weekend this year.

    My attitude towards Valentine’s Day has always been that it’s no more than a symbolic date. Every day should be Valentine’s Day, not just one day a year, but it is nice to set aside a regular evening (date night, whatever you want to call it) just for us.

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Lovely words Tim, I do agree there that it has gotten a bit out of control but I do personally like to celebrate it, it’s a reminder to make time to celebrate your relationships, all of them (I’m a soppy lass)-so although we regularly try and have date night, it really prompted me to book a restaurant, not on Saturday though, we’ve opted for Friday, I cringe about being surrounded by coupled tables only!

      Reply
  14. John Adams

    great post Tony and a superb choice of blogger to feature in #whosthedaddy. I had heard that the origins of Valentine’s Day were muddled and confused but didn’t appreciate they were thought to be Christian in origin. I’ve learned something. I must say I don’t generally acknowledge the day itself, but make a romantic gesture at a later date when the restaurants have space and baby sitters obtainable!

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Good thinking John and I too have learnt a lot on the history of Valentine’s in this fab post! Thanks for your comment! Tony is fab isn’t he, what a lovely start having you both kick this series off!

      Reply
  15. Al

    Great post! I didn’t know about Jack! I would’ve loved that as a child but can see it’s a bit odd! We celebrate Valentines but not really too much more than most weeks when we go out for a meal or some kind of date. Totally agree everyone’s view of romance is different. We definitely have a very romantic relationship but totally get why others don’t feel it necessary. Enjoy your 15 minute slot 😉

    Reply
  16. Franki ~ Little Luca & Me

    We don’t celebrate Valentines either and someone actually pulled my hubby up on it at work the other day saying they felt sorry for me and didn’t I mind. It has always been my idea not to celebrate it. I’m lucky to have quite a romantic husband anyway (he’s slipped slightly since we became parents) but we try to go on regular date nights and buy each other things so one day a year seems silly to us. We do always get each other or make each other a card though and try to make that a special romantic gesture but Valentines for us is pointless. People find it odd though that we don’t celebrate it x

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Not odd at all chick, everyone has a different view on it and it sounds like he’s romantic all year through. Peter can be too but like you, when kids come along, it’s not as easy pre-babies. Thanks for your comment x

      Reply

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