Monday, 14 February 2005

Valentine's Day

Well, today is Valentine's Day. This is not one of those holidays for which I have very many fond memories. As a little boy in school, one had to give Valentines to each and every one of his classmate. Of course, most little boys consider such things "mushy" and so it is not excactly a pleasant experience. As an adult, given the unstable nature of my love life, I have too often found myself alone on this day and listening to "Love Stinks" by the J. Geils Band.

The cynical tend to believe that Valentine's Day was invented by Hallmark to sell card. And while there have been times I have not been particularly fond of this day, I know enough to realise that isn't true. While the day's origins are shrouded in mystery, it does have its roots in the feast of St. Valentine. Beyond that, it is difficult to say why the day became associated with love and sweethearts. There are the various legends regarding St. Valentine (none of which appear in his early biographies). And then there was the Roman festival of Lupercalia that took place in February, which was essentially a feritility festival. But it wasn't until the Middle Ages that Valentine's Day seems to have been firmly linked with love. A superstition in 14th century England apparently associated the day with the mating of birds. It was at that time that lovers first started exchanging love notes (the ancestor of the modern day "Valentine"). And a lot of scholars think that the various legends of St. Valentine and love may have been introduced at this time.

Regardless, today Valentine's Day is a billion dollar business for the florist, candy, and card industry, the day when more chocolates, more roses, and more cards are sold than any other. For whatever reason the day beame associated with love, it is firmly so now.

I have not heard from my Valentine in the past few days. I do hope to hear from her some time today. While I might have thought the day "mushy" as a child, I can't say I believe that any longer.

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