You know the game where you sit in a circle of people and whisper a phrase into the ear next to you? The next person can decide whether or not to mutilate or transform the phrase, or just repeat it verbatim. Over time traditions follow these same patterns.

Take for example Valentine’s Day, when an emperor in ancient Rome banned marriage to make sure his soldiers stayed focused on battle. Enter Valentine, the rule-breaker who married people while the authorities were not looking. Well one day the emperor caught wind of these malfeasances. He raised the long arm of the law and smacked Valentine into his place – a jail cell.

Misfortune bequeathed an opportunity unto Valentine where he met his true love – the jailer’s daughter. And as destiny unfolded for lucky Valentine, he was executed on February 14th. So when someone tells you the number 13 is unlucky, tell them this story. But maybe murder for secret love is not your cup of tea. Maybe you can tell more uplifting stories to boost people out of the singles-phobia attached to the more recent incarnation of Valentine’s Day.

Tell them about Lizzy’s humanitarian project. Tell them about a French exchange student named Nicolas. Perhaps you are into the arts? Discuss a concert, recent movie, or some meticulously crafted food from Helsinki. Need more fire for the cold nights? Recall how Swan and Marija traveled across the city to promote XAMK, or discover how to conquer the glass wall in your life. For some true inspiration from an often overlooked sport tell your friends about Lidiia’s journey through the world of table tennis.

What? You don’t know these stories? Turn the page to change that.

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