The 14th of February is Valentine’s Day, is it not? If you’ve forgotten, then here was your reminder! Valentine’s day is a day of love, giving presents and celebrating your relationship with someone very special to you. As we know, many events are manipulated over time. But Valentine’s Day, alongside Thanksgiving, are possibly one of the most misunderstood annual “celebrations” of all time.
According to legends, Saint Valentine served under the Pope of Rome at the time of Claudius II. At this time, generally, soldiers were forbidden to marry and the Roman Empire was performing daily persecutions of the early Christians. Saint Valentine was a follower of Jesus and often ministered to dignitaries about his beliefs and, as a consequence, was often imprisoned and put under arrest. At one point in time, Saint Valentine was discussing Christianity with Judge Asterius, whilst under house arrest. The Judge was rather unimpressed but gave him a deal nonetheless; if Saint Valentine could restore his blind daughter’s sight, he would do whatever he asked. To everyone’s amazement, the girl’s sight was restored and, thus, the Judge was prepared to do whatever Saint Valentine asked! Valentine said that all of the idols in the house should be broken and that he and his household should fast for three days and undergo baptism. In the process, also, many Christians were freed from persecution. Of course, this was a big achievement for Saint Valentine! He also restored the hearing and sight of his jailor’s daughter. Unfortunately, when he tied to convince Claudius II to become a Christian, Claudius II refused and, instead, ordered him to be executed on February 14th 269AD. It was believed, also, that he sent a letter to the Judge’s daughter, signing it with “Your Valentine” before his execution. This act of continued love to people lead to Geoffrey Chaucer, in the 14th century, to start the trend of sending love letters to people, signing them off as “From your Valentine”, along with chocolates and presents. The saying of “Your Valentine” is an act of loving anonymity as people believe that when Saint Valentine healed the Judge’s daughter, he called himself Valentine, although she, of course, could not see him as she was blind.
The issue with this is that, on February 14th, a man was martyred and killed for his beliefs He sent the letter in sadness and grief, telling the young lady of his fate. It was not at all a love letter! He showed love in acts of kindness and healing, following the acts of Christ whom he followed dearly. We have, though, since the 14th century, fabricated this story and turned it into a commercial celebration.
There are also more suspected origins of Valentine’s day, of which are not as pleasant. Lupercalia and Juno Februata are both days that were celebrated around February 14th by pagans. Although they are no longer celebrated, they were religiously followed in ancient times.
Lupercalia was celebrated on February 15th and was a festival in which men beat women in order to “secure” fertility. Men sacrificed dogs and cut pieces of their skin and ran around naked in the streets, flogging women. A blow from the goatskin whips was believed to bestow fertility and the ceremony was in honour of the goat-god Lupercus. Juno Februata was a day in which the names of “eligible” young women were taken and put together. Then, a “lottery” would be drawn by young men as to which young lady the man would take for the day’s erotic festivities. This festival also took place on February 15th. These festivals truly provoked fake love and was a rather revolting demonstration of erotic infatuation.
In the context of modern Valentine’s day, there are also many negative social impacts that come with his ribbon-laced annual celebration. If you’re single, you have probably felt very targeted and miserable on Valentine’s day, as everyone has their arms around one another and shops are ladened with hearts and cupids. It is almost as if this day was maliciously created to make lonely people extremely depressed. On February 12th, 2005 in the USA, 32 people were found out to have planned to commit a mass suicide on Valentine’s day, along with some planning to kill their children. It is fair to say that such an event does truly upset many single people.
The main argument is, funnily enough, that Valentine’s day should not be celebrated one day a year, but every day of the year. If someone truly cared about and loved you, I think you’d hear it more than once a year with an uprooted, overpriced species of plant-life, a card for £3.50 and fat-saturated blocks of sugar, laced with oils and lard to come with it. Valentine’s day is just a day in which businesses bet on the fact that couples will spend lots of money on useless gifts to amount for the other 364 days of the year where “love” hasn’t been demonstrated. Truly successful couples, I believe, don’t rely on that single day of the year to show their love for each other; but show their un-materialised love for each other every day that they’re together. As good as it may be and as sweet as the intentions may be, if you’re in a relationship, try presenting the love of your life with a promise to love them for who they are, every day of the year, every day of the week. And, if you’re single, just remember that it’s okay! The love of your life is out there, waiting for you to show them true love too! 🙂 Don’t be sad, it’s only a matter of time!
So, if you want to buy your one-and-only a card and a box of chocolate for Valentine’s day, go ahead! But remember that true love is not defined by the amount of money that you spend on your partner, but what you give to them all of the way through the year, in the times that you spend together! Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!