On this day there are two kinds of people in the world: those who go big to celebrate the most romantic day of the year and those who say that every day is Valentine’s Day and there is no need to wait for the 14th of February to tell our significant others that we love them.
Whichever group we belong to, we cannot deny that it is nice to feel cared for, to be thought of, to receive a card, a present, an invitation for a night out. It is probably the best day for florists too. According to the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, in the US alone, Valentine’s Day spending is expected to reach 23.9 billion US dollars this year, the second-highest year on record. Mainly red roses. But also red cards, red balloons, red heart-shaped pillows and so on. What if this year we go green?
Starting with cards. It is unquestionable the appeal and the charm of an old-fashioned hand-made paper card. However, the billions of cards sent everywhere also contribute to deforestation and most of them end up in landfills. This year, let’s opt for recycled papers or, less-traditional e-cards. After all, it is the thought that counts.
And then there are the above-mentioned flowers. A bouquet of flowers is always beautiful: they have a lovely scent, they are colourful and make a nice effect on our dining tables. Unfortunately, flowers die in a few days. Why not buy a plant instead? They last longer and can have the same visual effect. And if we want to buy something useful as well, let’s go for a herb plant and in particular let’s go for basil. And I am not saying this because I am Italian and I put basil pretty much everywhere, but also because of the legends and properties which are linked to this plant. Maybe in ancient ages, it was considered as something negative, a plant of dread and suspicion. However, there are also some nice and romantic folkloristic traditions. In Portugal, for example, basil is presented, together with a poem and a paper carnation, to a sweetheart, during the religious holiday of John the Baptist. Also, American writer Scott Douglas Cunningham described the scent of fresh basil as the cause of sympathy between two people, the reason why it is used to soothe tempers between lovers. It is also added to love incenses and the fresh leaves are rubbed against the skin as a kind of natural love perfume. In his Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, he also mentioned that in Eastern Europe it was once thought that a young man would love any woman from whose hand he accepted a sprig of basil.
Finally, if you are thinking about buying a bottle of wine, choose one made from organic grapes or at least grown sustainably. The same thing goes for a dinner out, where local, sustainable restaurants are to be preferred. And if you cannot give up on the idea of a romantic gateway somewhere (although this year, Valentine’s Day’s on a Monday), travel sustainably: choosing an overnight train can be quite the romantic idea.