Valentine's Day at St George's

To many, Valentine’s Day is just about relationships. The idea being that if you’re in a relationship you spend the day with your partner, ignore the outside world and just be disgustingly romantic for one day a year. If you’re not in a relationship, then it’s a day you dread. You’re always reminded of the sadness you must feel for being single. Despite this, Valentine’s Day has a message we should remember all year around – to show love and compassion to everyone.

Nowadays, everyone seems to forget where Valentine’s Day came from and why it happens. It has not always been about relationships, or even love. A majority of you probably know the story of Saint Valentine performing secret wedding ceremonies during the reign of Emperor Claudius II, if not, the Wikipedia simple English version gives a good overview if you ever get bored. However, the holiday’s roots are embedded in a Roman Pagan festival. (Funny story, I once met the brother of a Pagan who was running for the US Senate in 2014 as part of the Libertarian party; his main rival found a video of him performing some ritual on YouTube and he subsequently resigned from politics to focus on his ‘family life’.) Pope Gelasius I then recast it as a feast day for St Valentine in 496. Unfortunately for Catholics, the holiday was removed from the official liturgical calendar in 1969 as St Valentine’s story was too suspicious.

The feast day was not associated with love until the 14th century when Chaucer composed a poem in honour of the engagement between Richard II and Anne of Bohemia. As was tradition, Chaucer linked the poem to a feast day, and so St Valentine was the lucky man.

The holiday then evolved further in the 18th century, with cards, flowers and chocolates becoming involved. Today, of course, it is a commercial success with 25% of all cards sent each year dedicated to Valentine’s Day.

There are lots of things you can do to show love to everyone without having to buy a card; a majority are free as well. Smiling, for example, helping a friend with their homework, holding the door open for someone or just saying please and thank you. At St George’s, we show love for the community by collecting cans for the Salvation Army, hosting charity events like the Emma Broad Sixes and bringing the local community to us every week with Kennedy Club. There’s so much you can do not just on Valentine’s Day but all year around to show love, so don’t be concerned about the one day a year where it is supposedly more important than anything else. 

Patrick Hare

The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of St George's Weybridge.