Karen Brazas: The different faces of love | TheUnion.com

Karen Brazas: The different faces of love

Other Voices
Karen Brazas

We all know the origins of Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and perhaps even Halloween. But the "facts" of how Valentine's Day came to be are a bit more elusive.

According to "Dr. Google" (today's all-knowing sage!), a few theories emerge. One is that the ancient Romans sacrificed a goat and a dog from Feb. 13 through 15, and following the ritual, a matchmaking lottery took place when men drew women's names from a jar (perhaps the precursor to Match.com?). Another theory, not quite as "romantic," tells of the execution of two men, both named Valentine, on Feb. 14 in Ancient Rome. Their martyrdom was later celebrated as St. Valentine's Day in the Catholic Church.

However it came to be, these days Feb. 14 is celebrated with flowers, heart shaped boxes of chocolates, and the thousands of greetings that make Hallmark Cards, Inc. smile all the way to the bank. According to statistics, on this day in 2016, the average person spent almost $150 to show their love.

Of course having a sweetheart to share love with is a wonderful way to celebrate the day. I've been blessed with mine for 46 years of marriage. We celebrate our love every day, but on the 14th, candy is on the menu along with a card from me and a large hand-carved wood plaque from him that reads, "Happy Valentine's Day, 1971," marking the night we became engaged. I am gifted with the same plaque every year, but a sticky note covers the '"71" with the current year! He may fall short of the $150 average, but his greeting is very cost effective and always makes me smile.

And whomever you’re with, wherever you may be, celebrate love this Valentine’s Day.

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But what does one have to celebrate if no significant other is in the picture? There are other ways to celebrate love in all its many beautiful facets.

Love of family. If you have a close one or even only one member with whom you are close, celebrate your love with each other.

Love of friends. Celebrate your friends and the many ways they enrich your life.

Love of nature and the world around you. Take a walk. Appreciate the beauty surrounding you. Whether it be the forest, the lakes, the mountains, or simply the blue skies above, there is much to love.

Love of community. We are blessed to live where we do. Our air is clean; our neighbors are kind; our quaint little cities are charming.

Love of country. "America the Beautiful" IS beautiful. And despite the discord, living here is a true blessing. Celebrate your flag and cherish your freedoms.

And last but surely not least, love yourself. Whether you are alone or with a loved one, treat yourself today. This day of hearts and flowers is not just for young lovers. It is for us all. Show your love. Figure out a way.

And whomever you're with, wherever you may be, celebrate love this Valentine's Day.

Karen Brazas lives in Nevada City.