I didn't know anything about Valentine's Day until I moved from Cologne, Germany to Bavaria in my teens. In Bavaria, unlike Cologne, on Valentine's Day young people exchanged poems. I thought it was some sort of annual poetry festival.
Then I learned about the American Valentine's Day. Flowers, chocolates, wearing red, and even sexy underwear. My American boyfriend at the time - my now husband - was relieved he didn't have to go through all this non-sense with his blissfully ignorant German girlfriend.
This morning, 35 years later, I sent our 8-year old off to school with his 22 handmade, red, purple and pink glitter hearts, asking me softly whether I could please not come to the Valentine's Party because it would be too embarrassing. Sending a Valentine's Card to Grandma in Florida also was "way too embarrassing" although Grandma sends a Mystery Valentine's Card every year that is "super embarrassing", and we try to figure out for days who might have sent it.
Love is in the air as our lemon tree is emitting the most wonderful fragrance. I have to soon take it out of the winter garden and put it outside so the bees can find it. It's February in California and the sun is shining. My husband will surprise his old German girl with some pretty flowers, or forget and apologize for days. I am sure the old Catholic Saints wouldn't mind most of our pagan spring rituals.
I remember reading somewhere that the cross represents, with its horizontal line, our human life - the linear aspects of past, present and future - and that the vertical line represents our divine nature of here, now, eternal and infinite life, that reaches up and beyond, to Infinity and Eternity from our spot here on earth. Although the two seem in conflict with each other, there is this one point where they cross and are the same. It is a symbol much older than the Christian cross of Christ. This point is the eternal peace we can find in our heart, which physically would be at the center of the cross.
Valentine's Day today is a cross of "Victoria Secret" and "St. Valentine", an ancient Catholic saint and martyr, who was the original reason for Valentine's Day. The Saint has been forgotten, but the sweet sacredness of life asserting itself in the spring when things get "super embarrassing" and I sit under my lemon tree anticipating a bouquet of flowers, has not. All this activity and excitement of spring has eternal peace at its roots. That's what makes it sacred.