Celebrate Love No Matter Your Relationship Status
Love it or loathe it, Valentine’s Day is much more than simply chocolate, roses and dinner plans. The holiday is actually rooted in rich history. Finally, an expert in rituals provides tips on a variety of ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day. So you can find the one that suits you, whether or not you’re in a relationship.
Cupid’s holiday lineage traces back to the ancient Roman fertility festival, Lupercalia, which celebrates early spring, fertility, ancestors and love. Single females would place their names into an urn, while each bachelor would pick a name out of the urn to spend the year with that woman – thus ensuring fertility for the community.
France and England
In the Middle Ages, the ritual of picking a woman’s name out of an urn continued. However, something significant was added. The term, “wears their heart on their sleeve” came from this tradition: a bachelor would draw a heart on his sleeve, committing to take care of the woman whose name he drew for an entire year.
So, where does the name Valentine come in? In the third century, legend has it that the Roman Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage, fearing that men would not want to go off to war if they were happily married at home. A Christian priest named Valentine didn’t like this idea and married couples in secret. When Claudius discovered Valentine’s practice, he threw Valentine in jail and executed him on February 14; thus Valentine’s Day was born. Before his death, Valentine developed a strong relationship with the jail keeper’s daughter and signed his letters from your Valentine.
With inspiration from the past – and a less harsh government system – we’ve created five modern day rituals to try this Valentine’s Day.
By Barbara Bizoiu
1. Write a love letter
You don’t have to be as eloquent as Lord Bryon or St Valentine, but handwritten love letters are a great way to show your love, and are more romantic than a text or email. By the 17th and 18th centuries, love letters and small gifts were exchanged around Valentine’s Day. Pick up some nice paper and write a hand-written note, accompanied with a small gift if you’d like. Rub with flowers or essential oils for that extra touch.
2. Lock in your love
If you’ve ever been to Paris, you might have seen the love padlocks covering the Pont des Arts Bridge, which has since been taken down recently. However, this ritual – popular in France and other countries – is a sure sign to express your love for the world to see, by writing your names on the padlock and locking it up. Surprise your loved one with a padlock and write your names on it together, locking it to your fence or hook somewhere around your home – or your favorite spot to visit.
3. Have a date with yourself
If you’re unattached this Valentine’s Day, you don’t need to go into full-on depression mode. Take yourself on a date. Whether that be out at a nice restaurant, at home with a nice meal, getting a massage, a bubble bath or a chick flick and wine night, treat yourself on this special day. Loving ourselves is just as important, if not more, than loving others.
4. Draw a love bath
Baths with oils have been around for centuries and were enjoyed by royalty. Pour lavender, rosemary, thyme, and comfrey into warm water and soak. Add bath salts or Epsom salt for an added health benefit and detoxification.
5. Drink a love potion
Yes, it’s a real thing, but you won’t become crazy or choke to death. For healthy, natural aphrodisiac love potion, make this:
- equal amounts of dried plant material (damiana leaf, muira puama bark, jasmine flowers, and rose petals) to fill your jar 1/3 full
- filtered water and food-grade, organic vegetable glycerin, to cover
Quick Tincture Method
- Place enough plant material into any size glass mason jar to fill 1/3 of the way
- Cover the plant material with a 60% vegetable glycerin 40% water mixture, and screw on the lid.
- Using a pot, made with some sort of non-reactive material, make a water bath by placing a small piece of cheesecloth or a piece of scrap cloth on the bottom of the pot, then place the glass jar full of herb and glycerin on top. Fill the pot with 2-3 inches of water. Note : Do not cover the jar with water.
- Slowly and gently bring the water in the pot to a simmer – just below boiling.
- Allow the jar to bathe in this water temperature for 6-8 hours. Be sure to shake the jar periodically throughout the process. And be sure to continuously add more water to the pot as needed.
- Turn off the heat, cover with a cloth, and let it all sit covered, overnight.
- Each day, repeat the gentle warming, shaking and steeping – ideally for 3 days, but if you’re in a super hurry you can make this tincture in one day; however, it only gets better the longer and gently it is prepared.
- Strain off the herb with the help of a strainer and cheesecloth. Now squeeze hard, extracting all of the goodness of the plant!
- Be sure to return the plant material to the Earth.
Bottle and label the tincture. Note : I recommend storing your tincture in these bottles.
For more rituals to help you celebrate, move through daily life and difficult times, enjoy Barbara Biziou’s, The Joy of the Ritual: Spiritual Recipes to Celebrate Milestones, Ease Transitions, and Make Every Day Sacred.