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Valentine’s Day 2011: More Than Just Dinner, Cards, Chocolate, and Gifts

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Ahh valentines day- the chocolates, the flowers, the sexy foods, the love between two people, the pain of a breakup, the fun of being sexy and single!!

No one really knows the exact origins of Valentine’s Day, but most historians believe it has it’s origins in Roman and Christian religions and Saint Valentinecultures, amongst other romantic legends. I am sure other religions and cultures factor into this holiday, too. Some websites say the day is named after some early Christian martyrs named Valentine who were cruelly executed by Popes or Emperors (so many versions, including the about-to-be-executed Valentine who slipped a note to the jailer’s daughter, with whom he he fell in love with, signing the scrap of paper, ‘From Your Valentine’).

It became associated with romance during the Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. On the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints, February 14 was the feastday of Saint Valentine, until it was removed in 1969. Now it is a commercial holiday.  

Some symbols of V Day are realized as hearts, cupids, paper creations bedecked with ribbons and lace, roses and flowers, doves and lovebirds, and loveknots. I’m single, so, I won’t be spending money on baubles for a boy, but somehow I still get swept up in the flowers and candy since we have a florist in the family, so I know I’ll get a rose or two! If you need amazing blooms- call the House of Flowers & Gifts, 27 S Main Street in Phoenixville.

The romance and fun of Valentine’s Day isn’t lost on me however, since V Day can be fun for all. You can show everyone in your life you love them- cards for kids, have a Valentine's day potluck dinner with your best girlfriends, take your guy friends out for a beer or a game of darts- this holiday doesn’t have to be focused just on a couple. You could take your dog for a walk and be happy to be outside (especially since I hear it’s going to warm up in the Philly area!) I say this year, just treat yourself, and / or your friends and family. Go relax!

Over 190 million Valentine's Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine's Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas, says History.com. In the Victorian Era, handwritten hards created with lace and scraps of ribbons were all the rage, until mass-produced ones came into play.

One V Day favorite has got to be chocolate - sexy foods are definitely a fun and playful way to show someone you love them- even if it is giving a wrapped truffle to a friend, or feeding oysters on the half shell to your lover. Or try making lemon and lime spicy chicken - get those creative juices flowing! Champagne with strawberries or raspberries or raspberry liqueur is delicious, as well as a sweet wine like riesling paired with crab cakes or foie gras. This should definitely make you feel just a little bit amorous!

I personally love Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc, a delicious, light and grape-fruity wine that tastes good with anything, even the old cheese-crackers-and-grapes standby. I recently had cheese grits at Daddy Mims in Phoenixville, and I swear I fell in love. These savory morsels would have anyone swooning! And sweet desserts- anything gooey and with whipped cream is a bonus, and cinnamon- good for the heart.

Want to do something to help others and their hearts? Go to www.Facebook.com/Macys and click on the Valentines tab. For every valentine sent, Macy’s will donate $1 to the American Heart Association.

So what are you doing this Valentine’s Day to treat yourself or others? I think after work, I’ll take in a power yoga class, then go home and make some fondue, which I’ll invite my friends over to share. Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc will definitely be involved! Maybe next weekend, I’ll treat myself to a massage!

Happy Valentine’s Day, Philly!

Daddy Mims (http://www.facebook.com/daddymims)

Christine Tarlecki can be reached at engchik@comcast.net , and on FaceBook, as well as http://engchik.blogspot.com , and on Twitter under engchik

Photo of Saint Valentine from whollyroamincatholic.com

Dog photo: http://1st-valentines.blogspot.com/