Valentine's Day

I recall an Arthur (remember the books by Marc Brown?) episode in which all the characters are down and out.  It was a snowy, blustery, bland February, and everyone was miserable.   Arthur and his friends decide to create a holiday.  They throw themselves headlong into this scheme to cheer up the month, only to find that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.

This is how I like to think of Valentine’s Day, a day of hearts and red in the middle of a bleak winter.  Actually, I wish Christmas were at the end of January (I think that would improve the psyche of all who live in northern regions).  There is, however, the neatness of wrapping up the year with Thanksgiving and Christmas, so let’s let St. Valentine have his day.

Personally, Valentine’s Day hasn’t meant much to me since decorating Valentine’s Day boxes was removed from the mix, and this year, Valentine’s Day took on a whole new meaning in a different country.  So brace yourselves: just how is Valentine’s Day celebrated here?

Well . . . just about the same way Thanksgiving Day is—it’s not.  There are merely traces.  Some shops have cards, flowers, or chocolates for the day, but even these are hard to come by.  February 14th is Valentýn’s name day here, so there’s something for you if your name happens to be Valentýn.  I spent my day teaching English, attending a Czech class, and going to a Bible study.  No one batted an eye; nothing was said.  One American praised the fact that single people aren’t forcefully confronted by their singleness on Valentine’s Day here.

I, however, could have done with a little mid-February buzz.  Homemade paper valentines, heart-shaped suckers, couples and their coquetry, people carrying single roses . . . it all brings just a little sparkle in the midst of the chapping winter cold.

So, dear friends—single and taken alike—happy (belated) Valentine’s Day, and remember, spring’s coming!


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