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Psychology | Valentines Day


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It’s St Valentines Day on Thursday. Saint Valentine’s Day has been celebrated officially since the 6th century and unofficially it goes back to Roman times. The giving of traditional gifts like flowers probably goes back over 2,000 years. People also send love letters and cards to symbolise their love. In modern times chocolates and other gifts have also  become popular.

Gifts are part of most celebrations, like  Christmas and Easter. These are all Christian celebrations, but gifts form part of celebrations in other religions and cultures too.

Mothering Sunday, sometimes known as Mother’s Day, is held on the fourth Sunday of Lent. It is exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday and usually falls in the second half of March or the beginning of April. This year it will be on the 10th of March.

There will also be Father’s Day on the 16th of June, but this appear to be more pagan in origin than the other celebrations. It also seems to be less important.

The gifts given at all these celebrations tend to be from the providers to the dependants. These rituals were probably once part of our collective survival strategy. The strongest men in the tribe giving gifts to the young women, the males giving gifts to their mates and at other times of traditional celebration, adults giving gifts to the children.

When we give gifts we are showing that we care for someone and the giving of gifts symbolise love. That might be the love that we wish to show to a mate, a parent or to children. It is a primitive ritual in it’s origin, providers giving gifts to symbolise their role as providers. It has become more sophisticated as man has become more sophisticated. It is still highly symbolic though.

You should be careful choosing gifts this Valentine’s Day and remember that they do symbolise the way that you feel. A single red rose might be seen as far more symbolic, than a huge bouquet  of 500 roses. Try to put a little thought into choosing a card; make it personal.

If you’re a woman buying a gift for a man, then it is even more symbolic. Choose something personal. Cooking a man a meal and serving it to him yourself, is very personal and symbolic. Buying him something that he will wear is symbolic too, but be careful to choose something that he will wear and not put in a drawer, never to be seen again.

Spending time with people is an important part of all the celebrations throughout the year. If you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, then you should set aside time for it. That might be time for that special meal; food is an important part of all celebrations and very traditional. It doesn’t have to be a candle-lit dinner. The important thing is to share the celebration. A very personal meal for two rather than a meal in a busy restaurant will be more intimate and effective.

Try to imagine, what people did before we were all so sophisticated and appeal to primitive emotions and instincts. Imagine the caveman coming back with his kill at the end of the day and bringing wild flowers to impress some young woman in the tribe. Their meal would be in the light of a camp fire at a time that would be vey close to mid-winter. Perhaps, this is why we see the flames of a log fire or the flame of a candle as being so romantic?

Do you have a simple Valentines gift, that you would favour? Please use the comments box to share your thoughts…

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5 responses

  1. Hahaha
    We have our own Valentine’s tradition!
    I make the card
    He opens it.
    If he remembered the date I’d pass out and be unable to get through the rest of the day 😉
    That’s what happens when you get ‘old’.
    Thoughtful post, Mike. I might show him, but he’ll have forgotten all about it by tomorrow.

    11, February 2013 at 12:06 pm

    • Hi Myfanwy,

      I usually find writing every morning quite easy, but combining Valentine’s Day with psychology wasn’t so easy. I did the prices for red roses last week. the cheapest is £2 and the most expensive is a bunch of 100 for £500!

      On Wednesday night, mention that you’ve never had breakfast in bed on Valentine’s Day; that should keep him awake! 🙂

      11, February 2013 at 12:27 pm

  2. First time since 1986 I’ve not needed to do Valentines (I’m in relationship rehab – long story, long list of relationships). Be strange and nice not to have to pander to this comercial nonsense.

    11, February 2013 at 2:46 pm

    • Hi Nick,

      I don’t like all the commercialisation. I think tokens can still be used to express emotion. If that’s a single red rose on Valentine’s Day, that will work. I don’t think a bunch of 500 roses from Asda sends out the same message though. People will use the occasion to impress with their money,often money they have borrowed.

      I won’t be buying red roses either this year! 🙂

      12, February 2013 at 10:29 am

  3. Pingback: The Saturday collection of this week’s highlights « Mike10613's Blog

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