Ah yes, it’s that time of year again, when you reminisce about candle lit dinners, dozens of roses, sweet nothings being whispered into your ear…Not so easy to replicate those days with a couple of kids in tow! But whilst our lives have changed immeasurably, most of us would argue that they have changed for the better and that there is even more love in our lives. So should Valentine’s Day be only about you and your spouse or should we extend the love to include our little ones, and possibly create a family tradition where we celebrate the love in our family on the 14th of February each year?
The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But as parents, let’s talk more about one particular legend that we might like to believe to be the true origins of Saint Valentine’s Day.
This legend claims that the Christian church decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, and to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus (remember them from your school days?)
To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Roman women believed this would make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn from which the city’s bachelors would choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.
Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity but was outlawed at the end of the 5th century when Pope Gelasius declared February 14th St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love, when, during the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14th was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.
So now that we know more about the legend stemming from the story of the infants Romulus and Remus it makes perfect sense that we should include our children in the celebration! So how can you make valentine’s Day fun filled with your kids? Here are a few of our favourite suggestions to make Valentine’s Day a new family tradition.
Get cooking - Holidays are the perfect time to create memorable traditions and usually at some point it revolves around a special meal. It couldn’t be easier to make this meal special with heart shape cutters. You can cut anything, from bread for sandwiches to even molding your rice in the shape of a heart.
Get crafty - We decorate the house for Christmas, Easter, Chinese New Year, Birthdays…why not decorate for Valentine’s Day too? It doesn’t have to be complicated but just get some pink and white card and make some heart shaped paper chains to hang around the house. You’ll also find tons of valentine craft ideas on the internet including making your own cards.
Pampering - If you have girls it would be lovely to spend the afternoon being pampered at a spa and go home for your special dinner with lovely pink fingers and toesies!
Tea Party - It’s all about sharing the love! Have your kids invite their very best friends over for a special tea party with heart shaped cookies.
Get Cozy - Snuggle down with the entire family in front of a Rom-Com or for younger kids there are plenty of Disney love stories like Beauty and the Beast, and Lady and the Tramp.
Valentine’s Books - Make a trip to your local library and you’re sure to find some kids Valentine’s Books like Happy Valentine’s Day Curious George. Perfect bedtime story on the 14th February!