Today is Valentine's Day, the one day when love is in the air - whether you want it to be or not.
The murky origins of Valentine's Day begin with a pagan festival traditionally held Feb. 15. Lupercalia was a fertility festival honoring Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome whom legend has it were suckled by a she-wolf, shattering the image that children suckled by wolves are unruly or destined to be worthless.
Three saints named Valentine, or Valentinus, are recognized by the Catholic Church. One was a third-century priest, Valentine, who continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret despite an edict that Roman soldiers not marry. Emperor Claudius subsequently ordered that Valentine be put to death.
The modern version of Valentine's Day, of course, is replete with cards, flowers, candy and myriad other gifts from one lover to another. It's a time when new loves are made and old ones reaffirmed, when husbands remember their wives with dinner and bouquets (and pity those who don't remember).
A Valentine's Day gift doesn't have to be expensive - a simple Valentine's Day card will often do - but to make a big impression, one that their sweetheart will always remembers, a dozen roses is the preferred medium of love's exchange. And Valentine's Day, of course, is probably the most expensive day of the year to buy roses.
So if you know someone whose day would be made - someone in long-term care, a person recently widowed or single - give that person a Valentine's Day card. It will make that person's day a whole lot better.