Valentine’s Day will soon be here, and with it the annual rose promotion opportunity. While Old Man Winter is blowing icy breath at us, many of us take the most delicate of flowers home by the dozens. How long they last is anybody’s guess, but in the meantime, they have helped many a romance bloom.
People in love constantly search for new ways to declare their feelings on Valentine’s Day. Some guys rent billboards to ask their girls to marry them. I always wonder what the poor guy would do if she said no. Would he have the nerve to show his face in public the next morning, after his humiliation was announced to the world on television?
Sometimes the best plans go awry. There was the fellow who was determined to pop the question on Valentine’s Day, and gave a lot of thought to the best way to do it. His Honey took the same route home every night. Young Romeo created a number of signs that individually spelled out the question: LAURA – WILL – YOU – MARRY – ME? He then arranged them at intervals along the road. He stationed himself by the last sign, carrying red roses and a heart-shaped box of chocolates with a sparkling surprise inside. He waited – and waited – and waited. No Laura. Finally, he sadly packed up and went home. There he found Laura, having bribed the caretaker to give her access to his apartment, waiting for him with a lovely meal and – you guessed it – red roses!
The origins of Valentine’s Day seem to be a little bit murky. In the Christian faith, February 14 is the feast day of St. Valentine, a priest who lived in Rome during the third century. Legend has it that Valentine secretly performed marriage ceremonies for young lovers, who were forbidden to marry by the emperor who wanted the young men to go to war rather than marry and happily start a nest.
In Roman times, February 15 was the feast of the god Lupercus. On that day, young women would write love notes and put them in a large urn. Each young man would pick a note and court the woman, whose message they had drawn. When Christianity became the official religion of Rome, the Roman holiday was merged with the feast day of St. Valentine on February 14.
Whatever its origins, Valentine’s Day is now firmly established as the most romantic day of the year. Florists love the day and use the opportunity to advertise and sell their pretty blooms. Every male who wants to stay on the good side of his sweetheart will make a purchase, and roses are the favourite choice. So what if the lovely blooms start hanging their heads a couple of days later. They served their purpose.
Happy Valentine’s Day to lovers everywhere!
– Joyce Slobogian writes from Brandon, Manitoba and is the author ofToDieFor, available
at Pennywise Books in Brandon, and online at Amazon.com.