Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Happy Valentine's Day Folks!
"Look just don't make a fuss! I'm sorry I forgot to confirm the reservation but I REALLY thought everybody was going to do their dating on Facebook this year! C'mon honey, smile, that's my boss sitting over there...i'llmakeituptoyou ok? please...."
And I thought I'd post AGAIN the History of Valentines, that i did for a magazine a couple of years ago. Helps you guys keep things in perspective.
THE HISTORY OF VALENTINES DAY
Fore score and several years ago when I was single and working near Lot 10, I walked out to get a meal with a friend after work and was shocked to find almost all the tables in all the restaurants in the general vicinity reserved. Bukit Bintang was buzzing, the traffic was gridlocked, people were rushing to the expensive dinners but were all simultaneously caught up in the jam. We went to a mamak instead. About 9pm after a couple of beers we went out to the street and swore we saw the same people in their cars, still stuck in the jam, looking miserable but with one difference – all the women were clutching roses in their hands!
I swore from that day on that there would be no time in my life for this ridiculous extravagance. However since you’re reading this my friend you’ve probably made plans already. So read on you poor sod and learn more why you’re spending so much on the one you love or desperately want to shag.
The Popular Myth
The version you’re probably most familiar with is that of Saint Valentine, a kind a gentle Roman priest who married off young couples against the wishes of the Emperor Claudius II. For helping out star crossed lovers in their moments of duress, the dude was beheaded for his troubles. Hence the birth of Valentine’s Day, the scourge of men’s wallets everywhere!
Here’s what we fond out
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia there were actually 3 different Saint Valentines. This hat-trick of Love Doctors were seemingly all martyrs and also seemingly quite obscure.
The 3 gentlemen were:
- a priest in Rome who suffered martyrdom in the second half of the 3rd century and was buried on the Via Flaminia.
- a bishop of Interamna (modern Terni) also suffered martyrdom in the second half of the 3rd century and was also buried on the Via Flaminia but in a different location than the priest.
- a martyr in North Africa, about whom little else is known.
F3 – February Fertility Festivals
The association of the middle of February with love and fertility dates to ancient times. In the calendar of Ancient Athens, the period between mid January and mid February was the month of Gamelion, which was dedicated to the sacred marriage of Zeus and Hera.
In Ancient Rome, the day of February 15 was Lupercalia, the festival of Lupercus, the god of fertility, who was represented as half-naked and dressed in goat skins. You might remember him for his wimpish cameo in the Chronicles of Narnia or his more flamboyant incarnations as Pan or Puck aka Robin Goodfellow from A Midsummer’s Night Dream.
As part of the purification ritual, the priests of Lupercus would sacrifice goats to the god, and after drinking wine, they would run through the streets of Rome holding pieces of the goat skin above their heads, touching anyone they met. Some accounts say they were actually wacking the folks instead of just touching. Anyway, young women especially would come forth voluntarily for the occasion, in the belief that being so touched would render them fruitful and bring easy childbirth.
The connection between St. Valentine and romantic love is not mentioned in any early histories and is regarded by historians as purely a matter of legend. The feast of St. Valentine was first declared to be on February 14 by Pope Gelasius I in 496. There is a widespread legend that he created the day to counter the practice held on Lupercalia of young men and women pairing off as lovers by drawing their names out of an urn, but this practice is not attested in any sources from that era.
In the 19th century, relics of St. Valentine were donated by Pope Gregory XVI to the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland, which has become a popular place of pilgrimage on February 14.
In 1969, as part of a larger effort to pare down the number of saint days of purely legendary origin, the Church removed St. Valentine's Day as an official holiday from its calendar.
So dudes, while you’re mulling over that expensive bottle of wine, have a thought for 3 mysterious martyrs, a goat legged God of Fertility and the counter measures of the Catholic Church against ancient pagan rituals.
Here’s also to you getting some nookie tonight.