Bring Back the Valentines Pepys Knew

Today is St Valentine's Day, the day when, by tradition, the birds choose their mates, and people in many countries celebrate love.

In recent years, people have started to comment on the fact that Valentine's Day has become insular.  More often nowadays, the focus is on relationships we are already in, with spouses, partners etc.  Single people can feel left out and lonely.

I think it's time to reinstate the kind of Valentine's Day Samuel Pepys knew and wrote about in his diary.  In his day, Valentine's Day was more like Secret Santa.  You chose someone from among your friends and acquaintances (someone of the opposite sex) to be your Valentine for the day.  You then gave them a little present.

Here's an entry from Pepys's diary, 13th February 1662/63.  (Two different years are given because of the Calendar Shift of the late 18th century, changing the beginning of the year from springtime to January):-

This evening my wife had a great mind to choose Valentines against to-morrow, I Mrs. Clerke, or Pierce, she Mr. Hunt or Captain Ferrers, but I would not because of getting charge both to me for mine and to them for her, which did not please her.

This is such a great idea, because it makes Valentine's Day a happy day for everyone, and is a chance to make someone feel loved who might otherwise feel left out.  Who's with me for next year?


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