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by Anne Berleant
“Where there is love, there is life,” said Mahatma Ghandi. And Valentine’s Day, marooned in the wintry stretch between New Year’s and springtime, is a fine way to celebrate love and life—despite it’s bloody start.
Valentine’s Day began as the death-day of Saint Valentine, a third-century Roman martyred for performing wedding ceremonies for soldiers after Emperor Claudius II outlawed the custom in his army. (Claudius’ reason, so the legend goes, was that single men made better soldiers.)
By the High Middle Ages, Valentine’s Day became a celebration of courtly love, and as early as the 15th century, flowers, cards and sweets became its stock in trade. Today, while still centered around romantic love, Valentine’s Day is celebrated by school children, family and friends—and even by owners and their pets, judging by the $367 million spent on pet Valentine gifts last year, according to the National Retail Federation.
Valentine’s Day celebrates relationships that are important to us—and gives us a reason to raise our champagne glasses in February.
Or a reason to visit our local library. Last year, Blue Hill Public Library invited families to celebrate by hosting “Share the Love,” which combined card making with short reads from favorite books and sweet treats. This year, said librarian Pat Horton, BHPL will celebrate Valentine’s Day again, although in a more “impromptu” way. Call 374-5515 or check their events calendar at bluehill.lib.me.us as the day draws near.
If visions of chocolate cloud your Valentine’s Day visions, the Blue Hill Co-op brings back Chef Nancy McMillan’s Truffle Workshop for a second year. Scheduled for Sunday, February 10, 3:30 to 6 p.m., participants (over 21 years) will leave with sticky fingers and the skills to say “Be My Valentine” in the sweetest of ways. To register, call 374-2165.
Flowers are a most traditional way to say “I care,” but they don’t have to be an expensive hothouse bouquet. While February doesn’t lend itself to picking a spray of wildflowers, an online search is a fast way to find one-two-three techniques for using pastel tissue or crepe paper—or even cupcake papers—to create a floral offering.
So celebrate! By doing so you’ll brighten up the long winter.