The worst day of the year is rapidly approaching again. I speak, of course, of St. Valentine’s Day. It is, without a doubt, the dumbest holiday with the possible exception of Sweetest Day but since they pretty have the same theme I really sort of count them as the same holiday. Of course Sweetest Day is an even more ridiculous holiday but since it hasn’t really caught on the way Valentine’s Day has I have to sort of put it aside.
The dumbest thing is that no one can really definitively state where the whole holiday came from. It appears as if there were two Saint Valentines, for example. There was the Valentine of Rome who was a priest there in about 269 AD. He had a reputation of being a doctor in addition to being a priest and would often treat people even if they were unable to pay him.
The second guy is a Valentine of Terni. He was a bishop in what is now known as Terni in 197 AD. He was supposed killed by the Emperor Aurelian. Exactly why he has anything to do with the supposed holiday I have no idea. There are people who credit the holiday with the guy from Rome and there are other who credit the guy from Terni and then there are those who same both of them were the same person.
At one point the Catholic church had eleven recognized Valentine’s days. So, if you want to add a little variety to your celebrations maybe you should pick January 7, May 2, July 16, August 31, September 2, October 25, November 1, November 3, November 11, November 13 or December 16. Of course if you happen to be dating one of those women who determines the fate of your relationship for the remainder of your lives together based upon what you do for Valentine’s Day you may not want to tell her about those other dates or she may expect flowers, dinner and gifts on those dates as well.
There was also a guy named Valentinius of Alexandria. He was once a candidate for Bishop of Rome. He apparently taught a lot about love and marriage and the marriage bed was a big part of his view of Christian love. Whether or not this is where Valentine’s Day comes from is still in debate.
There were also a number of fertility rituals that took place in the month of February that had nothing to do with saints. There was a god named Vali who was apparently some kind of god of light.
The first time Valentine’s Day and love came together was in the writing of Geoffrey Chaucer in Parlement of Foules. The day shows up in that poem that Chaucer wrote to honor the first anniversary of King Richard the II.
Of course none of this history helps explain the rampant commercialism by which the holiday is known today. Whatever significance this holiday may have had for pagans or Christians at one point is completely lost now. Now the holiday is about buying cards, flowers, candy and gifts. It is a completely random day that should, in essence, have no bearing on any healthy relationship but is, in fact, the basis of much strife in many relationships.
I can understand wanting to celebrate and anniversary. This is a date that should be significant and special to the couple. It represents something special for them and only them. That is romantic. That makes sense.
February 14 is a date seemingly chosen at random by society as a date where everyone in a relationship is supposed to celebrate the fact that they are in a relationship. Of course all this manages to do is alienate and make miserable everyone else who is not in a relationship. Of course it also makes miserable most people who are in a relationship because so many people put so much emphasis on this rather random and stupid date that really has no significance to anyone who is in relationship.
Here would be my suggestion if you are in a relationship and you want to celebrate some random day that has nothing to do with your anniversary. Now, of course, if you happen to have met or fallen in love while it was February 14 I can understand the celebration. For the majority of you, however, the entire date is probably meaningless. So, if you want to celebrate some stupid date that is completely random I suggest you and your significant other get together one night. Have dinner. Light candles. Then write out the months of the year on a piece of paper and cut that piece up into little pieces. Then write out the numbers from one to thirty-one. Both the slips of paper in a box.
Then, as you and your love-muffin stare longingly into each other’s eyes reach into the box and pull out two slips of paper. You should now have a random date. If you pick a date that doesn’t exist, like February 31, then just pick another day. Keep picking until you have a date that actually exists. Now go to a computer and make up cards and go out and buy a lot of cards and candy. At least this way you will have picked the entirely stupid and random date yourselves without doing something just because the rest of society tells you to.
Of course the candy makers, card writers, and fancy restaurants around the world wouldn’t like this idea. They all are counting on you coming to them in an attempt to put on the fanciest part you can for your significant stud-lasagna. Of course the entire day generally comes down to some kind of competition among women who all compete at work to see who gets the biggest bouquet and when it arrives. Any man who does not send a bunch of flowers to their mushy-wuggins at work had better be prepared to pay for it for the rest of their lives.
I have been a witness to women conversing about what their significant others were planning for Valentine’s Day. I have heard these women say that if they got home and their husbands had not prepared dinner and bought a gift that they will make sure to make this person pay and pay for a very long time.
At the same time the entire holiday seems to make it seem like if you remember to celebrate one meaningless day then you don’t really have to show your love and affection to your special person the rest of the year. If you just remember that one day then everything else is fine. Of course, if this is the case with your relationship then you have bigger problems to worry about than Valentine’s Day.
As for me Valentine’s Day will always be best summed up by an event here in Chicago. You know, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. You know, where seven men were lined up against a wall and shot in the back.