I recently learned that there’s a big difference between « Joyeuse Saint Valentin » in France and “Happy Valentine’s Day” in the United States.
While the greetings mean the same thing, Valentine’s Day in France is for couples, so only partners would greet each other « Joyeuse Saint Valentin. »
However, in the U.S., everyone wishes each other a “Happy Valentine’s Day” on February 14 — it’s not just for couples.
It’s common for friends and colleagues to say it to each other, too. Thanks to the American TV comedy, Parks & Recreation, there’s even a “Galentine’s Day” to celebrate female friendship (on February 13). Many people also give special toys to their pets on Valentine’s Day.
In grade school, we’re taught to exchange candy hearts and handmade cards with the entire class so no one feels left out.
But how can one feel special if everyone gets a “You’re the best, Valentine!” card?
A little creativity, thoughtfulness, and humor go a long way! One year, my younger daughter’s classmate gave her this delightful Valentine:
Valentine’s Day is serious business
If only simple gestures were enough! For many people, though, it’s go big or go home. As if quantity or size equaled the measure of love one has for another, we learn to give/expect over-the-top experiences, like fancy dinners, hot-air balloon rides, or ziplining through treetops.
We give/expect enormous teddy bears, heart-shaped boxes of decadent chocolate, sparkly jewelry, and giant bouquets of fragrant flowers.
As a result, upwards of $20 billion dollars is spent on Valentine’s Day gifts and fancy dinners each year here in the U.S.
With the pandemic and restaurant dining restrictions still in effect, however, I wonder how Valentine’s Day spending will change this year.
What I know for sure is that my family and I will be having a simple dinner at home this year.
Every year, my dear husband and I tell each other that we don’t want any Valentine’s Day gifts. Then I coyly remind him that I’ll take one white rose (my favorite!) over a dozen red ones any day! (But he gets me a dozen white roses anyway!)
Poem: Une amie qui s’appelait Rose
I once wrote a poem about an anthropomorphic/personified flower for one of my French classes. If Rose were a person, how would they feel?
Translated from French:
A friend named Rose 🥀
“I see life through rose-colored glasses…”
I will sing too
“I live the life of a rose …”
I will dance in the morning water
I’ll be there for you
You can give me
To your friends and to your wife
You can offer me to them
Have you quarreled?
Give me to this person
And she will forgive you
Are you sick?
I am the best medicine.
Are you dreaming?
Breathe me in.
I am real.
When you were sad, I was there
When you were crying, I received
Your tears – the water of your eyes
One, two, three
On my arms
I thought it was
The morning water
So, I started to dance
You were smiling
You were no longer sad
And then you discovered
That she still loved you
So, you continued your love affair …
While I danced
In my tears …
The water of my eyes for you
I wonder, “Is this the life of a rose?”
Will you accept this rose? 🌹
These days, when I think about the gesture of giving flowers, popular TV shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette come to mind. After their incredible dates that include fancy dinners, hot-air balloon rides, and ziplining through treetops, the Bachelor(ette) asks their love interest, “Will you accept this rose?”
Thinking about my poem, perhaps one should be asking: “Will this rose accept you?” 😉