I’m in my thirties and have never been in a relationship, so of course I’m uniquely qualified to write a blog post about everyone’s favorite Hallmark creation — Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day began as a way to sell leftover Halloween candies and rewritten Christmas cards to gullible housewives in the 1880s. Speaking as a perpetually single adult male, Valentine’s Day means practically nothing to me. Although I do like those sweetheart candies. Mmm…flavored chalk.
But make no mistake. I’m not one of those killjoys claiming to hate Valentine’s Day. I think it’s grand that we have a day where we celebrate the love between two people. Or three or four. I don’t judge. I have many fond memories of Valentine’s Day from my youth growing up in Roswell. I remember the giant heart balloon with the tissue paper limbs I brought home and played with. That was fun. We used to give everyone in our classroom those one-cent Valentine cards. I’d get tons of those throughout elementary school. They dried up a bit through middle and high school, which was disappointing. Thankfully, I usually get something, even if it is just a card, from my Mom.
It’s always fun receiving gifts, but it can be even more fun to give them, seeing someone else’s eyes light up when they receive something they didn’t ask for but nonetheless needed or wanted very much. It’s a beautiful thing. Much like those chocolate hearts Dove makes. Dark chocolate is the best, followed by white and then regular. Don’t blame me. It’s science.
Valentine’s Day takes its name from St. Valentine who performed illegal weddings for Christians during Roman times. There are numerous legends ascribed to him, as well as miracles, though the presence of candy is curiously lacking. To get to the bottom of this mystery, I sailed to the Vatican in my luxury sailing yacht, the Intrepid, and spoke with several of the Swiss guards before being kicked out and banned from the city of Rome altogether.
But before getting kicked out, I managed to glean three key pieces of information:
- Valentine cured at least one girl of blindness.
- Valentine had most likely never even heard of cocoa.
- I really can’t see the pope without an appointment.
Now, you may be wondering how it could be that St. Valentine had never heard of cocoa. You shouldn’t be. You’re in college and should really know this one. Anyway, chocolate comes to us from Mesoamerica, particularly the Aztec and Mayan civilizations. Chocolate’s popularity surged in the 17th century across Europe, as more Europeans grew accustomed to this strange new flavor from the New World. The first heart-shaped Valentine’s chocolate boxes hit the stands in 1861, courtesy of Cadbury. Most of you will recognize Cadbury as the purveyor of chocolate eggs filled with a gooey white substance. Mmm…mystery frosting. Valentine’s Day and chocolate have been linked ever since. By the 1930s, chocolate had cemented itself as the go-to treat for lovers in love. Or just an everyday snack for the perpetually single.
Now if you are not otherwise engaged the evening of Feb. 14, be sure to check out Intermezzo Night at Patton Dining Hall. It’s sure to be a marvelous shindig, including a five-course meal accompanied by soft jazz. The menu is still under construction as I’m writing this post, but if past events are anything to go by, you can expect only the finest in eclectic cuisine. The evening begins at 4 p.m., so don’t be late.
Real, Honest-to-Bob Sources:
Catholic Online. (n.d.). St. Valentine – Saints & Angels. Retrieved from
https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=159Henderson, A. (2015, February 12)
How Chocolate and Valentine’s Day Mated for Life. Retrieved from