Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Love, Beatings and Beheadings.

Valentine’s Day has meant many things to me over the years: forced affection from classmates, candy, embarrassment because we couldn't afford cool Valentine cards, shame that no boy wanted to be my valentine, a really good reason to buy a kickin’ dress, loneliness because the man I was going to marry was on the wrong side of the planet, and most recently panic that I won’t get a sitter. I have to wonder if this is the sort of thing the real Saint Valentine would want to be associated with what used to be his feast day. So, I looked him up and found Catholic.org. It seems St Valentine was a man of varied interests, as he is the patron saint of the following:

  • · engaged couples
  • · bee keepers
  • · epilepsy
  • · fainting
  • · greetings
  • · happy marriages
  • · love
  • · lovers
  • · plague
  • · travelers
  • · young people

It can be clearly seen how most of these fit nicely with our traditional assignations to February 14. What marriage isn’t happier with a little epilepsy and fainting? Young people are easily equated to the plague. You rarely see engaged couples without bee keepers (Bee mine!).

Valentine himself could be one of any number of possibly real people. He could have been a priest who assisted martyrs, and by assistance they mean “married,” (Because nothing is of greater assistance than getting a spouse) which was illegal. He was beaten with clubs and beheaded—how come you never see that on a Valentine? Whoever he was, scholars agree he was definitely beheaded. Maybe that’s why we have cherry cordials (too much?).

The celebration of the day has its origin in the Roman festival of Lupercalia, when a young man would draw the name of a young woman in a lottery and she would be his sexual partner for the year. Now we have booty calls and drunk dialing. Pope Gelasius I was clearly not on board with the tradition, because he changed the lottery to picking a saint to emulate for the year. I bet all the boys hoped to get St Augustine—he renounced the faith and had a mistress for many years before seeing the light. Now, if the film “Valentine’s Day” is to be believed, a young man can send flowers to both his wife and his girlfriend and be in the spirit of both traditions. This is just being inclusive.

Valentine’s came with all its frilly commercialism to the US in the 1840’s. By 1930 it was the second biggest retail spending day of the year. It should be noted that Hallmark started making Valentines in 1915. Coincidence? I doubt it.

As my life changes, my Valentine preparations become more and more complicated. Here is my actual Valentine to-do list:

  • v Buy Valentines for 3 kid’s classroom’s.
  • v Eat chocolate to assuage guilt that I didn’t make Valentines like I did last year.
  • v Plan to make cookies for class party.
  • v Run out of time and buy cookies.
  • v Eat chocolate to assuage guilt that I didn’t make cookies.
  • v Stand over first-grader’s shoulder for two hours Feb 13 continuously nagging him to address Valentines.
  • v Eat chocolate to relieve stress of nagging..
  • v Find babysitter
  • v Fail to find babysitter and count on MIL—again.
  • v Eat chocolate to relieve babysitter stress.
  • v Buy better gut cincher so extra flab from all that chocolate doesn’t show in awesome new Valentine dress.
  • v Develop intestinal problems from excessive chocolate and gut-cinching so my husband doesn’t get the only thing he wants for Valentines.
  • v Eat chocolate to assuage guilt over husband’s holiday disappointment.

Now that I think about it, I may prefer St. Valentine’s celebration—feel free to beat me with clubs and take off my head. At least I’ll weigh less on February 15.


Monica said...

Nice Em! Now I know who to blame nest time I have a fainting/ epilepsy spell. :)

Juda said...