Saturday, February 14, 2009

Be Mine, Valentine!

On this St. Valentine's Day, I wanted to outline the main differences between Valentine's Day in Britain and in the US.

In Britain, the tradition is to send Valentine's cards anonymously to the person or people in whom you are interested. I have since found out that the probable origin of this is a Lancashire tradition, which actually may go back to Roman times. Apparently, eligible young men and women put cards with their names on into two separate piles, and each girl and boy took a card at random. Each person made their own subsequent arrangements, having a choice of two options.

When I moved to the US, I was surprised to find out that people sign their Valentine's cards. Not only that, but it is customary for children to bring tiny little cards (and sometimes candy) to school for every child in class. I clearly remember the difficulty of trying to sneak a card into the locker or bag of girls I "fancied" at school.

My Wife has indulged me in my preference for anonymous cards.

Talking of indulgence, I wanted to hijack this blog post for personal reasons. If it all proves too much, I recommend the Wikipedia article on Valentine's Day.

Firstly a cute story: My four year old daughter went to her dance class this week, and one of the little girls in her class had brought Valentine's cards and gifts for everyone. Not knowing who would be there, her Mother had written who they were from, but had not written the names of any of the intended recipients. She handed a bag of them to the teacher to hand out. Each time my daughter (who is an excellent reader) was given a Valentine, she tried to give it to the girl the card was from. She thought it had been given to her by mistake.

Last, but certainly not least, I have been sick for the last few days, and it has rather limited my plans as far as Valentine's cards or gifts are concerned. Therefore, I am taking advantage of this very public channel to wish my Wife B. a Happy Valentine's Day. I think it's legitimate that I share it here, since she is the reason I moved to the US in the first place, and she continues to be my inspiration.

With All My Love


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Lexie said...

That was a very very sweet post Graham. I really enjoyed reading it! I like both traditions, signing and not signing Valentine's Day cards for different reasons...

Hope you and B. had an amazing Valentine's Day! Be always well and happy :):)

Graham said...

Well, I'm still recovering from my recent illness. Also B. had to spend all day 3 hours away at her late Grandfather's apartment with the rest of her family, dividing up his belongings, while I stayed here with my daughter.

It might not have been the best Valentine's day ever, but still not bad. B. enjoyed my blog post, I think.