Yes it’s February, and before I forget I’m going to blather on a little about something that doesn’t as much annoy me as confuse me. And that would be the declaration of February 14th as Valentine’s day; or to give it its full name, the feast of saint Valentine.
Now before I get into the small piece of Christian history that we know about the man behind the feast, let me just point out that I know February 14th can be a very upsetting day for many people, namely single people. Having previously been a single person, I know the peeves and the hatred that come with such a celebration, and yes, I too detested the day before I actually had something to do on it; although the fact that it comes so close to my anniversary kind of takes the pressure off that certain day I must admit, almost as if it’s only half as demanding.
Anyway, I would be one of the first men in a room to admit that it’s possibly the most depressing day of the year for a single man, especially if you’ve got something planned on the day and have to watch as smug couples eat each other’s faces in front of you (guilty) and as such, I will vouch for you here, Valentine’s day sucks if you’re single, and not a whore.
Anyway, of course I have the usual qualms associated with every holiday: the commercialisation, the fact that if you search google for it, you will immediately be bombarded with people trying to sell you overpriced gifts just because they’re in the shape of hearts etc.
And as with the majority of major holidays, it most likely has pagan origins that have been warped into a thriving market in our world of business and infrastructure; nevertheless, there was a day when pagans most likely had their celebrations of love around this time. Whether for modern day pagans they still celebrate it in their religious stance rather than as the heart infested market boom of today I don’t know, but it interests me at least.
The odd thing about Saint Valentine here is however, that he really didn’t have anything to do with love, and in fact, there is no real historical evidence of any of the urban myths and legends trying to make excuses for the association with romantic love, and in fact their origins are most likely 14th century fiction; which was like our fiction, except it didn’t take much to make it exciting, and I assume there was probably a lot less blood and profanity.
Saint Valentine (who isn’t exactly pinned down as a single person either oddly) is historically known as a Roman martyr, and was honoured by Pope Gelasius I who first established his feast day after the Roman Empire accepted Christianity as its official religion.
The basic story is however, that the Romans got pretty pissed at the priest marrying Christian couples because they saw this as blasphemy, and so he was imprisoned. While he was locked in there, Emperor Claudius II got pretty friendly with him and they became super awesome friends; this was until Valentinus decided to try and convert the emperor in a classic move called ‘shoving your belief in people’s faces’ AKA preaching.
Because of this incident, Valentinus; who thought Jupiter was a lot cooler than Jesus, decided to have his bezzie murdered, and thus, apparently, this means he was a martyr for Christianity’s cause. Fair enough, not exactly an amazing thing he did, I wouldn’t consider it an act of bravery, in fact it sounds a little like stupidity to me, but who am I to argue with ancient Popes? Besides being officially a Catholic in the eyes of the church despite my beliefs.
Therefore I must insist that we take away the name of Valentine from its association with romantic love; maybe move the love day to sometime in the summer; then people can go outside and have picnics and walks rather than freezing their bollocks off in the most frosty month of the year; and may the feast of Saint Valentine now celebrate people getting murdered for trying to convert their emperors day! In this day we can all line up outside number 10 and try and convince David Cameron that each of our individual beliefs is better and more truthful than his. Doesn’t sound great? Well at least it bloody makes sense in context.