Valentine’s Day is on it’s way, and it brings in it’s wake a kaleidoscope of emotions, depending on your situation. Florists and chocolatiers are in romance heaven and planning their summer holidays on the profits. The postman is either really happy with all the love that’s around him, or else he is bah-humbuging his way through the day weighed down by his load.. Literally!
Happy campers in contented coupledom are all excited and about to be either really impressed or really disappointed by the romantic effort levels of their respective partners. And singletons are either dreading the day and planning a Bridget Jones style evening with wine chocolates and a movie a-la uno, or else they are planning to celebrate the day that’s in it with the loved ones who have their back no matter what.. friends.
Either way, on Valentine’s Day, it’s all fun and games, until someone loses an eye, or their heart, or head!
Take St Valentinus – he’s become known as the patron saint of lovers. However, his story isn’t one of hearts and cupids arrow. In fact it is more a tale of defiance and death by decapitation! He was a Roman priest at a time when the Emperor had banned marriage for soldiers, believing that they would fight more fearlessly if they were single. St Valentinus secretly performed weddings for these soldiers, not, let’s be honest, because he was a hopeless romantic, but because he wanted to bring them into the Catholic faith. He was caught, beaten, imprisoned, and eventually decapitated on February 14th. But don’t let that stop you from enjoying that box of Milk Tray now will you?
The legend goes that he wrote a letter to the daughter of one of his jailors during his final days, and signed it ‘from your Valentine’ and this has inspired today’s romantic love letters on February 14th.
Then we have the first Valentine’s verse, which was composed by Charles, the Duke of Orleans while he was in France, that most romantic of countries, and was sent to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415. I believe he managed to keep his head.
Valentine’s Day has become so commercialised that it can be hard to find a way to truly express your love without it seeming generic. That’s why we here at the beehive think that Afternoon Tea is the perfect activity for Valentine’s, whether you are single, coupled, or wanting to bring the love to the workplace.
For the couples. Let’s be honest. ‘I really want to spend Valentine’s with you sitting in a packed restaurant surrounded by swarms of other couples’ said no one ever! But a romantic evening in, unlike any other, with an indoor picnic set up beside the fire, and a mouthwatering Afternoon Tea spread laid out on vintage fine bone china, with the dulcet deep gravelly tones of Louis Armstrong crooning from the record player, is surely an invitation you’d swoon into someone’s arms for on Valentine’s Day.
Groups of friends. Let’s be real. Not everyone is loved up in coupledom, nor do they have someone to swoon over in their imaginative minds! And many of us are ok with that. Friendships that are as solid as oak trees, as supportive as the tightest spandex, and as much fun as discovering a playground with swings after a few glasses of wine, trump many a lover anyway! So why not show your love for each other and organise a fabulous ladies tea party. The Finnish have the right idea. They celebrate Friend’s Day on February 14th and give small gifts and cards to everyone, family, friends. Love your friends. They are the ones who know your weaknesses, but who show you your strengths.
In the workplace – Love your Staff. We don’t generally associate Valentine’s with the workplace. But why not make it a day where you show appreciation to your staff by doing something special and ‘lovely’ for them. There’s a wonderful Danish cultural concept called Hygge. It translates as the idea of cosiness, of togetherness. It is a mental state, and perhaps one of the key reasons that Denmark is regularly rated as one of the happiest countries in the world. According to the Danish tourism website ‘The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family- that’s hygge too. And let’s not forget the eating and drinking – preferably sitting around the table for hours on end discussing the big and small things in life. So why not create a little hygge in your workplace this Valentine’s day with a vintage tea party?
Valentine’s Around the world
I lived in Japan some years ago, and on Valentine’s Day, it is the woman who buys chocolates for the man. The type of chocolates depends on whether you feel obliged to buy them – as for work colleagues, or whether you have romantic feelings for them. They eventually balanced the score by adding a White Day a month later on March 14th where the menfolk reciprocate with chocolates.
Hilariously, South Korea takes an extra step here and adds Black Day on April 14th, where all those who missed out in February and March mourn their singledom by going out and eating bowls of black bean paste noodles.
The Philippines hold free mass wedding ceremonies for thousands of loved up couples, and have the world record for the number of kissing couples at the same time.
Estonia, like Finland, celebrate Friends Day, but in an added romance seeking twist, singles can ride around in a ‘love bus’ hoping that cupid will be waiting at the bus stop with an arrow meant just for them!
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Show your love with Afternoon Tea
And they will be forever true