All over the world the 14th of February is a day for lovers to show how much they care for one another. However, I’m fed up of all this swooning nonsense and believe it’s just a way of getting those florists who work at Interflora to keep their jobs. In fact love should be shown 365 days a year!
Now don’t get me wrong, I can be romantic when I wish but only when the moment suits me and not when some commercial, money grabbing so and so decides it has to be today! Clearly the only intention these days is to make as much money as possible by exploiting lovers. For me Valentine’s Day has gone too far, become too expensive and is no longer a delight to behold.
To me all it says is: SPEND YOUR CASH AND LOTS OF IT!!! Whether you have any or not!
Did you know in ancient Rome, 13, 14, 15 February were celebrated as Lupercalia, a pagan fertility festival. This could be the basis for a celebration of love at this time. It was marked in a subtly different way in those days and to be honest I wouldn’t have like to be on the receiving end … Apparently young men would strip naked and turn goat or dog skins which they had just slaughtered into whips to spank the backsides of young women to improve their fertility. I’d like them to try that technique today because unless the woman is into S&M she would be more likely to whip them straight back and send them off with a flea in their ear!
Later on a Christian known as Valentine of Terni was martyred in the reign of Emperor Aurelian. Not long after he was imprisoned, tortured and then beheaded. According to legend, he died on 14th February but this is likely to be a later embellishment.
By The Year: 1601
By this time, St Valentine’s Day was being romanticised and had even managed to enter the popular consciousness to the extent that William Shakespeare mentions it in Ophelia’s lament to Hamlet …
Tomorrow is St. Valentine’s Day
And early in the morning
I’m a girl below your window
Waiting to be your Valentine.
Then he got up and put on his clothes
And opened the door to his room.
He let in the girl, and when she left
She wasn’t a virgin anymore
The passing of love-notes was becoming popular in England by the mid 18th century. This was a precursor to the St Valentine’s Day card as we know it today. Early ones were made of lace and paper and in 1797 The Young Man’s Valentine Writer was published. Inside, there were many suggested and appropriate rhymes and messages. The postal service was becoming more affordable (unlike today) making the anonymous, St Valentine’s Day card more possible to send in secret. By the early 19th century, they became so popular that factories started to mass-produce them.
The Year: 1913
If, like me, you feel cynical, you might call this date the beginning of the end for St Valentine’s Day as a genuinely romantic event. Those who can only see cash signs are now beginning to start reinventing the day into a regime of sugar-coated sweetness designed to chisel spare cash out of lovers everywhere.
An estimated 1 billion St Valentine’s Day cards will be sent worldwide this year, making it the second most card-heavy celebration after Christmas. But who is to blame? We are of course. If we didn’t buy cards from such places as Hallmark they would simply go out of business.
Many people will celebrate St Valentine’s Day by going out for a meal, sending flowers to their loved ones or breaking the bank by buying expensive jewellery they simply can’t afford. Then of course there may well be a few who will be spending the day in the same way the early Romans did, but let’s not go there!!!
Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!