Saturday, February 14, 2009
Happy Valentine’s Day!
I always wondered how this “holiday” began, so I did some research, and to be honest now that I know how it all started I don’t think I will be celebrating this holiday any longer.
The birth of Valentine's Day began with the very ancient, Roman pastoral festival; Lupercalia, observed February 13 through February 15 to ward off evil spirits and cleanse the city, releasing health and fertility. Okay so far not bad, sounds okay and I’m still with it. The festival sported many of the noble youths of the magistrates running naked through the city for sport and laughter while girls and young woman purposely lined their route in hopes of getting lashed by whips or “thongs” made of the sacrificed goat and soaked in it’s blood as they believed it would ensure fertility and ease the pains of childbirth. Okay, gross. In order for these young men to obtain the thongs, the festival begins by sacrificing two male goats and a dog, no gender specified. A piece of the goats skin in cut from the carcass and the blood from the knife is wiped upon it and then soaked in milk before the running of city partakes. This went on until the fifth century, when the public performance of pagan rites was outlawed. Hurray for someone finally coming to their sense! Later a priest named Valentine came along. Valentine was a romantic at heart who for his belief in love disobeyed the mighty Emperor Claudius II. You see the Emperor wanted all his soldiers to remain bachelors so they would not be distracted by love (heaven forbid) and concentrate on fighting.Valentine,had other thoughts and he secretly performed marriage ceremonies for the soldiers. As a result of his defiance of the Emperor in his fight for love he was put to death on February 14th. And there you have it folks, how it all began. Oh there are a few more Roman stories in between and at the end the magical “Cupid” comes in to play, but for me the story ends here. It is hard to enjoy a day which started way way way back in 44 BC when many animals were sacrificed so we could get a box of chocolates and a few roses; I guess I will reflect on the story of Valentine, for he sacrificed his life for love…