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Readers Would Prefer A Less Commercialized Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2018 Featured No Comments

In the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll more than half of the responses supported a more traditional celebration of Valentine’s Day over the current commercialized day.

Q: Agree or disagree: Valentine’s Day has become too commercialized, we should return to a traditional celebration.

  • Strongly agree 5 [21.74%]
  • Agree 5 [21.74%]
  • Somewhat agree 4 [17.39%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 3 [13.04%]
  • Somewhat disagree 0 [0%]
  • Disagree 3 [13.04%]
  • Strongly disagree 1 [4.35%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 2 [8.7%]

But what does “traditional” mean?

The history of Valentine’s Day, legend says, originated during the third century in Rome. During this time, Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers, so he outlawed marriage for young men. A young priest named Valentine was furious with this injustice and defied Claudius by continuing to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. Claudius eventually discovered Valentine’s actions and sentenced him to death (not quite the fate of those who fail to buy their significant others flowers on Valentine’s Day, but clearly a lesson to be learned from history!).

During his time in jail, Valentine fell in love with his jailer’s daughter, who visited him in prison. Before he was put to death, Valentine sent a letter to the girl and signed it, “From Your Valentine” — an expression we still use today. Valentine was executed on February 14, 270 AD. Later, around 496 AD, Pope Gelasius declared Feb. 14 a day to honor Valentine, who by that time had become a saint. (ProFlowers)

The above is the sanitized version, here’s more detail:

From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.

The Roman romantics “were drunk. They were naked,” says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile.

The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, um, coupled up for the duration of the festival — or longer, if the match was right. (NPR)

Here’s one way to look at it:

Given that Valentine’s Day is a creation of the sentimental Victorian era and based on the flimsiest of traditions, rooted in an obscure reference by Chaucer to the saint’s day of an obscure early martyr who had no known interest in love or romance, it is surprising that, according to the US Greeting Card ­Association, about 1bn Valentine’s cards are sent throughout the world each year, fewer only than at Christmas. This must be due to the huge exploitation of Valentine’s commercial possibilities, especially in the US. Even a staid old newspaper such as the New York Times runs dozens of articles about what to do, what to buy, what to eat and how to behave on Valentine’s Day. It also defers to the modern sexualisation of a festival that, in Victorian times, was seen as a celebration of innocent love, often ­involving children. (The Guardian)

 

My husband and I usually have leftovers on Wednesday night, but tonight we’re going out — to a place he’s never been before. Today is also the 37th wedding anniversary of my oldest brother and his wife — congrats to them.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

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