Saturday, February 14, 2009

Bloody Valentines

Bechca didn’t known that Valentines Days has its roots in a Roman feast celebrated on the Ides of February (15 February) called the feast of Lupercalis. On that day those old Romans celebrated a rite of fertility by having naked men run through town carrying the skins of newly sacrificed goats dipped in blood. The women of the town would present themselves to be gently slapped by the strips and marked by the blood to improve their chances of conceiving in the coming year. Uck! Want to be my bloody Valentine?

(No wonder that Al Capone picked Valentine's Day to off his seven enemy type buddies in that Chicago garage thus creating the “Saint Valentine‘s Day Massacre“.)

But then came the Christian’s who just couldn’t have naked young men running around town so in 496 Pope Gelasius officially declared February 14 to be the feast day of two Roman martyrs, both named Saint Valentine, who lived in the 3rd century. Neither Saint Valentine seems to have an obvious connection to courtship or lovers. So out with the naked guys.

But you just can’t get rid of a good thing so despite attempts by the Church to sanctify the holiday, the association of Valentine’s Day with romance and courtship continued through the Middle Ages. In medieval France and England it was believed that birds mated on February 14, and the image of birds as the symbol of lovers began to appear in poems dedicated to the day. By the 18th century it was common for friends and lovers to exchange handwritten notes on Valentine’s Day. Printed cards had largely replaced written sentiments by the 19th century. Today, Valentine’s Day is second only to Christmas as the most popular card-sending holiday.

But, Hey, I’m all for bringing back the naked guys running in the streets, but without the goat skins. Maybe, we could add naked girls too?

Happy Valentines Day ya’ll.

No comments: