Valentine’s day has always been a time of year to get creative.
The history of St Valentine’s Day is based on a number of different, contradictory legends. Certain things that seem very likely: February 14th has definitely been a feast day for a long time. The writer, Geoffrey Chaucer certainly had something to do with redefining (or reviving) St Valentine’s day as a celebration of romance and devotion. St Valentine definitely existed (but may have been two different people, and is chiefly remembered for being martyred). But there were a number of Valentines and Valentinas, courtly poets, mating birds, and beheaded saints, and the feast day is a muddle of different legends and lost material.
The important thing to take from this, when thinking about Valentine’s Day, is that how you celebrate it, and what you celebrate is widely up to you.
My partner and I take on Valentine’s Day much the way we celebrate all major holidays; seeking unexpected adventures, and playing games.
On one adventure, we turned off our phones for a day and took a random adventure through the city, to see what we could turn up. We played Spot the Parakeet in Hyde Park, and booked ourselves in with a secret underground detective agency with an (invented) case about a missing Dachshund. The case remains unsolved.
Another year we stumbled upon a Digital Playground at Adelaide Fringe, and spent an evening competing to paint light onto buildings in the more dramatic way, and chasing projected creatures across the architecture of the State Library.
Making Valentines into a day of games and adventure is a way to move it away from being about devotion, and courtly love (which to my mind involves far too much rhyming poetry and eye gazing) and instead focuses on togetherness, and fun. My recipe for February 14th should involve chases, competition, ticking clocks, navigation, friends, games and if possible, parakeets.