We Claim Valentine’s Day for All!

February 14th was declared Valentine’s Day at the end of the fifth century to honor a martyred priest, but what’s the connection between a celibate clergyman and romance? Some say it’s because the priest, Valentine, defended the cause of love by performing marriage rites for young soldiers who were forbidden to marry by Roman law. Some say the date for celebrating St. Valentine was chosen in order to “Christianize” a pagan fertility holiday.

Photo of sculpture of St. Valentine

St. Valentine sculpture, Photo by Christian Pichler* edited with PicMonkey Rapture effect

Since the middles ages, however, Valentine’s Day has been unequivocally connected to the idea of romantic love. After taking hold in Europe, the holiday as we know it expanded to the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Australia. Now, one billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, which makes it the second-most card-sendingest holiday on the calendar!

Photo of 1940s guy holding a ring for his gal

Edited with PicMonkey Ombre Amour effect

The idea of romantic or courtly love has dominated our concept of what a valentine is about. The iconic question “Will you be my valentine?” is a message of romantic courtship, classically defined as a young male courting a young female.

Well, enough with the limitations: the Monkey is taking back Valentine’s Day!! Valentine’s Day is for all of us. You don’t have to be young; you don’t have to be dating someone; you don’t have to be a male chasing a female; and you don’t even have to be a human being to claim Valentine’s Day as your own. Let’s celebrate the love fest that is emotional connection, in all its many splendours.

Let’s celebrate love that’s very much requited.

Photo of elderly hand holding

Edited with PicMonkey Desire effect

Let’s celebrate love that knows no gender.

photo of two girls holding hands with Bokeh Hearts effect

Edited with PicMonkey Bokeh Hearts effect

Let’s celebrate love that crosses species.

Photo of girl hugging dog

Edited with PicMonkey Rapture effect

Let’s celebrate YOU and all the people and beasts you love, as you walk this earth.

Graphic showing tons of hearts and text saying Live your love out loud

And that is why we have so many different hearts in PicMonkey: because love comes in all shapes and sizes. Happy Valentine’s Day to us all!

* Photo of St. Valentine sculpture by Flickr user Christian Pichler