When thinking of V-day, most people think about the card companies, chocolates and roses. About how there is so much expectation around the day for lovers and spouses. It’s all supposed to be romance, champagne and fancy dinners. Maybe dancing or a movie with your hands clasped and a few kisses shared. Teens might spend most of it in the back seat of a car, probably daddy’s. Or playing sexy games like “spin the bottle” or “five minutes in the closet”. (I know, I’m showing my age, aren’t I? lol)
Some of you may know there was at least one saint named Valentine, who was beheaded for his support of young lovers. But did you know he was actually a bit of a heretic, going against the church in his efforts to see young men didn’t go to war, by marrying them? At least that is one story! Of three.
Like all major holidays of today, the Catholic/early Christian church tried to build something over a pagan holiday. Over pagan gods. The only question was: were the gods Roman or Greek? Were they covering a sordid tale of incest, rape, or something else? Usually!
And in the 14th Century, the poets started getting hold of the concept of linking romance to the day, vs fertility gods and practices. Poets like Chaucer.
Now the pressure was on for more than coupling cuzz everyone else in your church did it, and coupling cuzz s/he was the grand passion of your life. A longer and longer life.
And finally we come to the first commercial Valentine’s Day cards sold in 1915. Long long after the day was a thing.
For the lovers, it’s a lovely day. For the broken hearted and lonely, the history still has things you might enjoy knowing. And dreaming of: like the slapping, whipping of young maidens and field grains. or the beheading of heretics by popes. Or tales of gods who misbehave.
There is a little something for everyone in one day.
So from me to you, as it comes closer,
Happy Valentine’s Day!
(I know I’m a sop, right? lol)