Valentine’s day has a complicated, and often sad history. There is the pagan festival of fertility, Lupercalia, which some say was later Christianised by the Romans. Then there is the story of a priest named Valentine, who befriended his jailor’s daughter before being put to death. Legend has it that he signed his final letter to her with, ‘from your Valentine,’ thus beginning a tradition that continues to this day. The oldest recorded Valentine in existence is a poem written in 1415 by the Duke of Orleans to his wife, during his imprisonment at the Tower of London.
Nobody seems to be quite able to agree on the true origins of the holiday, but by and large, all the histories have something in common; they are all associated with romantic love. Understandably, this can lead those without a partner to feel resentful and excluded from the celebrations. In the past, I myself have felt repelled by the sheer volume of red roses, greeting cards and oversized stuffed animals dominating every card and gift shop in town. My automatic response to this has been to turn away, to declare that I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day on the basis that it is over-commercialised and over-rated.
This year though, I have made up my mind that Valentine’s Day should be a day to celebrate more than just your significant other. It should be a day to celebrate everybody in your life who is important to you, whether this means a partner, your mother, your best friend, or even yourself. Take a step back from the consumerism of the day, and choose a gift with genuine significance, something unique that will be truly appreciated by the recipient.
To commemorate Valentine’s Day this year, Etta is launching a carefully curated vintage collection. Each piece is hand-chosen by our owner, before being lovingly repurposed into something that can be treasured for a lifetime. There is something truly beautiful in breathing new life into something with its own unique history. On top of this, each jewel is handmade in the UK and packaged using only recyclable materials, so you know that you’re making a sustainable choice when you buy through Etta.
Thank you so much for reading, and remember that February 14th isn’t just for lovers! Call you mum, put on a face mask, or send your best friend a note to let them know how important they are to you. These actions might feel like a drop in the ocean, but believe me, they won’t go unnoticed.
Happy Valentine’s Day, angels!
This post is from our guest blogger Gabriella Giles