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  • There’s no perfect recipe for Valentine’s Day

    Don’t forget, hey you lovers; mark it down in your calendar. Next Thursday, February 14 is Valentine’s Day. You only know what happens if you forget to take your beloved out or do something special.

    For years, everyone celebrates Valentine’s Day as a day to honour one’s loved ones. February is the month of romance so that lovers, couples and betrothed ones can exchange flowers, candy or other types of gifts to express their love for their mate. Those romantically inclined even get engaged or married on this great day dedicated to love.

    The origin of Valentine is shrouded in mystery but legend has it that Valentine was a priest during the third century in Rome. Realizing single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, Roman King Claudius outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine couldn’t accept this injustice, so he defied Claudius and started performing marriages in secret. Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Since then, Valentine’s Day has been celebrated as a day of love and romance.

    It is estimated that one billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year, according to the Greeting Card Association. It goes without saying that the top card giving honour goes to Christmas when it is estimated that 2.6 billion cards are exchanged. Women are reported to purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.

    Card shops are already set to capitalize on Valentine’s Day with cards to suit every mood, demand and pocket. If you have kids in the family, they would perhaps give you hand-made card, customize specially for you. Such cards are the best and one should keep them to show to the writer when he/she grows up. It will also bring memories.

    Next in line are the restaurants who are conscious of the public’s demand to go out to enjoy. Last Valentine, we were away and arrived back in the city two days before Valentine. Although the restaurant owner knew me, we couldn’t get a table as our favourite restaurant was fully booked. Morale of the story is that you do not want to take a chance at your favourite eatery – book weeks before otherwise you’ll be disappointed. This year I was smarter and made the booking ahead of time.

    Most of us would perhaps be sitting across from the person you love enjoying a candle-lit meal. The meal doesn’t have to be in a fancy and expensive restaurant. If you are like me the sum total of my cooking credentials start and end with boiling an egg. With due respect to Canadian chefs, most men are not good cooks; so unless you have those culinary skills, don’t show off, but if you are good at cooking, by all means prepare a meal that is favourite of your spouse and enjoy it with candles and music.

    Valentine’s Day is also a day to honour family – who cares even if you get a Valentine’s Day card from your mom. I was quite touched to note that for Chicago Park District, Valentine Day is not about romance but more about family. The district is one the several in the city organizing an event where moms, dads, sons and daughters have a good time. The kids love it while it gives their parents a chance to spend time with their children. I am not aware of such things happening in our city but local community leagues could make a note of it for next time.

    An expert on relationships had this advise for those planning to celebrate Valentine ‘s Day. In consultation with your spouse or partner, plan ahead how you want to celebrate and be clear about your expectations. Be creative and generous and be attentive to your partner’s needs. Restaurants are always there to celebrate the day but if the partner is a homebody, cook a dinner at home and celebrate. You have to customize it to suit your pocket, mood and expectation. A final word of advise from the expert: There is no recipe for a perfect Valentine’s Day!