Close this search box.

Valentine’s day: the day that reminds us that love is all around us

AHHHHH… Valentine’s Day… a sensible topic; an opportunity to spend a romantic evening with your lover, or feel alone if you don’t have one. “It is commercial” some will say, “it is a pleasant moment” others will say. Even if this day is dividing opinions, it is a great opportunity to remind us how much love is important in our life and should be celebrated and used in our everyday life, not just on February 14th.

Love is actually a very vague topic. It can include Love with a big L, but also friendship, family, and most important: self-love. Because before loving someone else, you have to love yourself. We will broach all of these topics. But first of all, let me teach you some history. Let’s talk about the origins of Valentine’s Day.

The origin of Valentine’s Day

I cannot start this article without mentioning the origin of Valentine’s Day, because it’s funnier and older than we think.

Valentine’s day finds its origins in ancient Rome. The Romans celebrated the Lupercalia from February 13 to 15. It was a celebration of purification, a symbol of sharing, where a goat was sacrificed in a cave to symbolize fertility. It was also given in honor to the god of flocks and shepherds and marked the end of winter. In 494, Pope Gelas 1st banned this festival. He made Saint Valentine as the chief of lovers and established a day to pay homage to him: on February 14!

Valentin de Terni, better known as Saint Valentine, was a monk who refused to submit to Emperor Claudius II The Gothic. At that time, Emperor Claudius II wanted to ban marriage to prevent men from being tempted to stay with their fiancées rather than go to war. Valentin de Terni continued to marry off couples and challenged the emperor’s authority. He was then sent to jail! It was there that he met the daughter of his jailer: Julia, a young blind girl. She asked Valentin to describe the world to her. Through meetings and exchanges, they fell in love until a miracle happened: Julia regained her sight!

This miracle was to be shared and relayed everywhere. So much so that Claude II The Gothic, who did not like Christians, decided to condemn Valentin de Terni to death. He then became a martyr and will be considered Saint Valentine by Pope Gelas 1st who decided to honor each February 14.

Different ways of celebration

Nowadays, Valentine’s Day is universal, and is known everywhere, but that doesn’t mean every country is celebrating it the same way. For example, in Thaïland, you offer a certain amount of roses to prove your love: the more you offer, the more you love the person. In Japan, women offer chocolate to their chief and their husband. One month later, men have to offer chocolate to the girls of their surroundings. In South Africa, it’s more a day for the children to sensibilize them to the topic of love. They offer ribbons to the person they like: friendship or Love. In Finland, it’s a bit crazier. They are organizing a race where the man of the couple has to carry his wife and the winner wins the weight of his companion in liters of beer! While in Vietnam, they organize a kiss contest. The couple who kisses the longest wins.

What is Love with a big L to me?

This is a hard topic I got into, right? But what can I say, it’s a universal topic that we don’t speak about enough in my opinion, so this article is a great opportunity to do that.

Love is complex, can be shy, passionate, but love is fulfill of sweet sights and romantic moves. Love is making another person happy, smiling and making them forget everything else. It’s also bringing positivity to people’s lives. Love can also be heartbreaking but worth going back to each other and forgiving. Making concessions. Love is also loving the one you created. Love is challenging, it has to be tough but it’s worth it. You create life out of love and it can be stronger than death.

But all of that can be superficial. Reality is always harder and worse, but those things can happen if you believe in it.

I wanted to broach the topic of Love when you live abroad, because it’s very special. Also, since I have lived abroad for two years, I am just having ephemeral relationships. It is complex, short, passionate and special. Maybe more intense since you know that you will stay temporarily in the country and it won’t be the same anymore when your ways are splitting.

The good thing with love is that there is no limit, no rules, everything is possible and anything can happen. When I was in Erasmus, a German girl and an Italian boy fell in love with each other. Everybody was thinking that the distance would break their relationship. Their love was stronger than the distance and they continued to see each other and feel the same love even through the distance. And this story is actually very inspiring, but of course, not every couple is able to survive the distance. It depends on every person. I believe that if it was fate that you met and fell in love, if this guy or this girl was actually the love of your life, then you will always find a way to manage and kill the distance at some point. Even if it’s in 3 months, 2 years or 5.

Love doesn’t have to be a big event, but can also be small things, small attention from your family or your friends, even from strangers when you are in the street and someone is smiling at you.

From Friendship, with love

And then a random meeting can become friendship. When you live abroad, friendship can be compared to love, because it’s ephemeral, and then becomes a distant relationship. But as love, once you make friends abroad, either you were super close to them, spending the whole time with them or you were meeting them just for parties, you know you will always have a home somewhere in the world, and I think that is beautiful.

The thing that I noticed, since I kind of experienced 2 Erasmus in my life, is that the people who are part of this experience, are always people very open to the international. They always want to meet new people. They are open-minded. This is why it can happen that you are randomly going to a country on holidays, and the people that you were in an Erasmus with 3 years ago will text you to meet because you are randomly in the same city. Or you will just pack your bag and go to visit your German friend who lives 1200 km from you by hitch-hiking because you are broke.

This is what happened to me. Having international friends, it’s also learning some words from every language, of course not the best ones. It’s listening to random foreign songs when you come back to your home country. You become a multicultural person. You don’t really belong to your born country anymore because one part of yourself will always be there, in your adopted country. But the friendship, wherever it will end up, will remain the same, no matter how long you didn’t see each other, no matter the distance. Because memories and what you had together is stronger than all of that.

And a special friend taught me that ephemeral things are always the most beautiful. If it would not be ephemeral, then it would not be that beautiful. So, instead of being sad because an experience is over, and you don’t know if you will see your friends again, you should be grateful that this happened because it will always be one of the best memories you have.

But before loving someone, you have to be able to love yourself.

Forgive and love yourself first

Loving yourself is taking care of yourself. By eating healthy food, having a good sleep. You also have to realize that it’s normal to make mistakes, and you can always land on your feet. Listen to yourself because mental health is something very important. You can think it’s not normal to have troubles, to feel alone, to not want to go out with your friends, to feel sad for no reason. But all of this is okay because this is happening to everyone.

In our society, we are always pushed to go out, be productive, always have to do something. This is a real pressure because life is also to take time to think, chill, relax, take naps, or just do nothing if you don’t want to. And you don’t have to justify that to people around you, but also to yourself. Listen to what your body and your heart is telling you, and adapt your decisions to it.

Next step after being lost is to find

Actually, this article made me think a lot, and made me realize that being lost is okay. Because the next step after being lost is to find. And the finding part is exciting because you can find a new passion, meet a new person, get to find a new you. As long as you are sitting in your lostness with a big open heart that is ready to welcome whatever comes next. What is meant for you will never miss you.

Sometimes, not being in control of your life is not being bored and having new experiences and surprises, things that you think could never happen.

“Love is passion, obsession, something you can’t live without. Find someone you can love like crazy and who will love you the same way back. How do you find him? Well, you forget your head and you listen to your heart. And I don’t hear any heart. And the truth is, it makes no sense living your life without this. To make this journey, well you have to try because if you haven’t tried, you haven’t lived.” Meet joe black (movie)

To conclude, why is love so important in our life?

I believe that in the middle of this chaos that is life, love is always something that you can rely on when you are having a bad day. Love is magical and makes our everyday life magical and special.

If you hate Valentine’s Day and you don’t want to celebrate it, it is okay. You can then wait one more day and celebrate the singles awareness day on the 15 of February. It is an unofficial holiday celebrated by single people. It serves as a complement to Valentine’s Day for people who are single, not married or in a romantic relationship. It is a celebration of love in all forms recognizing the love between friends, family and loving yourself.

But on the contrary, if you are a romantic and you wanna feel the love in the air, you can watch Love Actually, which is the perfect movie for that.

Lots of love,