Saint Valentine

I just have to admit: Valentine’s Day (or, as many people call it, “ValenTIMES Day”) has to be one of my least favourite holidays listed on the Hallmark calendar. Quite frankly, it serves absolutely no purpose than to make people miserable who might otherwise not be miserable.

First of all, a little history on the day (as messed up as it is) from Wikipedia:

Numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine. The Valentines honored on February 14 are Valentine of Rome (Valentinus presb. m. Romae) and Valentine of Terni (Valentinus ep. Interamnensis m. Romae). Valentine of Rome was a priest in Rome who was martyred about AD 496 and was buried on the Via Flaminia. The relics of Saint Valentine were kept in the Church and Catacombs of San Valentino in Rome, which “remained an important pilgrim site throughout the Middle Ages until the relics of St. Valentine were transferred to the church of Santa Prassede during the pontificate of Nicholas IV”.] The flower-crowned skull of Saint Valentine is exhibited in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome. Other relics are found at Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland. Valentine of Terni became bishop of Interamna (modern Terni) about AD 197 and is said to have been martyred during the persecution under Emperor Aurelian. He is also buried on the Via Flaminia, but in a different location than Valentine of Rome. His relics are at the Basilica of Saint Valentine in Terni (Basilica di San Valentino). Jack B. Oruch states that “abstracts of the acts of the two saints were in nearly every church and monastery of Europe.” The Catholic Encyclopedia also speaks of a third saint named Valentine who was mentioned in early martyrologies under date of February 14. He was martyred in Africa with a number of companions, but nothing more is known about him. Saint Valentine’s head was preserved in the abbey of New Minster, Winchester, and venerated.

Be that as it may, any romantic connotations in the celebration of Saint Valentine didn’t occur until Chaucer’s mention of it in the 14th Century.

Flash forward to today where the following appear to be requisite on that day:

  1. Flowers (preferably a minimum of a dozen red roses);
  2. Romantic cards from Hallmark;
  3. A romantic dinner at an expensive restaurant;
  4. Heart-shaped boxes of chocolate; and
  5. Wearing red.

The wearing of red is probably the only thing that makes sense, since it is the liturgical color for martyrs, but the rest is just senseless. Why destroy all those roses in a single day (and let’s not forget the baby’s breath and greens to go with them) which will sit on a table somewhere until they die? Why purchase expensive greeting cards that say “I love you,” and “Be my Valentine,” that will be tossed out with the next trash bin, or tossed into a keepsake box and not looked at again for at least 20 years? And why spend a huge bundle of money on a mediocre meal in a packed restaurant with rude people, simply because it’s February 14th?

As I have waged a war on Christmas, I think we should also wage war on this secular Valentine’s Day as a Romantic Love day.

Quite frankly, Hubby and I have never had a use for this holiday. If we’d ever gone out to a restaurant on Valentine’s Day, it was because we were hungry and forgot it was Valentine’s Day.

Put simply, we don’t need February 14th to say “I love you” and show each other how we feel – we do that every day of our lives. And we certainly don’t need to eat at a romantic restaurant on February 14th – that’s for amateurs! We’d rather wait until some other date in the year when the crowds are thinner and when the kitchen staff aren’t going crazy throwing sub-par dinners on plates for the masses coming through their doors on that particular night because the calendar (and Hallmark) said so. Anyone who goes out to eat at a restaurant the night of February 14th will be lost in that un-romantic sea of faceless romantics carrying red roses and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates.

Not me! I’d rather stay home, order a pizza, and snuggle with my doglettes and Hubby (and not necessarily in that order).

And for those who are not in the dating/relationship pool, be grateful! Take your time and find that one person whom you truly love; someone who is truly your best friend – not just someone who is sitting closest to you on February 14th.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that the Hallmark holiday of Valentine’s Day should not be the only day for romantic love in the year – it should be shared all year long. Don’t just wait until February 14th to say “I love you,” or “Be my Valentine” – say it every day. Buy flowers for the one you love just because you saw something beautiful and thought of them. And let’s face it – chocolate? Good allllllllll year long! But most importantly, remember that every day is a day to celebrate the people you love in your life! Don’t just save it up for February 14.

And have a very happy Valentine’s Day! And then a happy February 15th… and 16th… and 17th…

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