Valentine's Day Part 1 | The Meaning of Valentine's Day
I have contemplated which way to go with this blog posting all week. I could write about Soul Mates and Soul Connections and how Valentine’s Day is such a wonderful day of love and celebration. I could also write what is in my heart and what I think everyone should know about Valentine’s Day (especially this one)! Well, for those of you that know me. The lovey dovey stuff just isn’t my style. It is also not my style to cover up the truth with “puff”. So… I instead decided to write a series of blogs between now and Friday. To get everything that I want to say about Valentines day out in the open. So, there will be history, story, astrology ok… a little “puff” too.
Why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Here is a quick run-down of the history of Valentine’s day. Historian’s have tracked the beginning of Valentine’s Day back to the death of “Saint” Valentine who was essentially a Martyr. He was either a Priest who was murdered because he officiated underground weddings when the King had outlawed marriage between young people. Other stories show that he may have been killed as the result of helping Christians escape Roman Prisons. It is said that before his death he wrote a letter to the woman he loved and signed it “From your Valentine”. So he essentially sent the first ever Valentine.
It is believed that there was then a Mid-February celebration for the Death/Burial of Saint Valentine. Then again historians believe that the Valentine’s Day mid-February celebration was intended to “Christianize” the Pagan Fertility Festival ‘Luperci’. ‘Luperci’ was a festival where they would sacrifice a goat and then slap men, women and crops with the bloody hide in order to promote fertility in the coming year. Men and Women would then be paired up by random at the festival and would often lead to marriage.
Luperci was outlawed at the end of the 5th Century and Pope Gelasius declared February 14th as Saint Valentine’s Day. It was not until much time later during the middle ages that February 14th became a day of Romance. It is believed that it is due to the French Celebrating the birds mating season.
By the Middle of the 18th Century it was common on February 14th for friends and and lovers of all social classes to send out handwritten greetings as small tokens of affection. It was not until the 1840’s when an Entrepreneur by the name of Esther A. Howland, who is known as the “Mother of the Valentine”. 140 years later Valentine’s day is the second largest card giving day of the year with over 1 Billion Valentine’s day cards sent out each year.
Basically, we don’t know where Valentine’s day really came from. It was either celebrating the Murder/Death of a Priest that performed marriages, getting slapped in the face with a goat's carcass then settling into an arranged marriage, the Pope’s way of banning Pagan Holidays, a time when birds mate or a Marketing ploy from a very smart business woman. Either way, this is not what I was taught in school or growing up. Now when I think of my own past with Valentine’s Day, I wonder if maybe it would have been better if I were hit in the face by a sacrificed goats hide filled with blood.
Valentine’s Day for me
I remember racing to school when I was about 10, so excited to display my Valentine’s Day Mail box that we were all required to make. Mine was beautiful. I hated pink back when I was child so it was many different beautiful shades of blue and had some red hearts on it and my name on the side. I was so proud of this beautiful box. My Mom and I had stayed up late the night before putting the beautiful craft together with an old shoe box, glue and craft paper. I was so excited. We had spent the rest of the time perfecting my little Valentine’s Day cards for everyone in the class. My cute little valentine’s with snoopy on them. I picked out the ‘special’ one for the boy I had a “crush” on.
I arrived at school and proudly display my mail box with the rest of the ones in the class. Many of the other kids had bought special Valentine’s day boxes, or they used a generic box that the school gave everyone if they didn’t want to make their own. Mine was one of the only handmade masterpieces. I couldn’t wait until lunch time when we were to put our cards in the mailboxes and then get a chance to read ours. I didn’t have many friends, I was always the strange kid, and was often bullied. So, getting a little note from my classmates meant so much to me.
Lunch time comes and I jump at the chance to put my Valentine’s in the different boxes. There were probably 20 or so kids in my class and I made a special one for everyone. Once we were all done the teacher allowed us to open our boxes and we had a mini party with candy. I was so nervous as I got ready to open up that box. I slowly opened my masterpiece as to not damage it in anyway and there inside laid my 3 little notes.
As everyone else was in groups, laughing, and cheering and making fun of the cards they gave their friends. I sat stunned in silence looking at my 3 little notes. Embarrassed that everyone was mocking my cards they received. So, I started to open the 3 cards. The first was a pretty card from my teacher. The second was a card from the only other outcast in the classroom asides from me. The third... The third one I held in my hand, praying that it was from my crush. I slowly opened the last card. Then I saw it! The name at the bottom…. Luke… It was from my crush. I was so excited. Once I got over the excitement that my crush had sent me a Valentine’s Day card. I then opened it the rest of the way and read it. It said “My Mom made me give this to you - Luke”.
I spent the rest of the class period reeling from the fact that my crush sent me a card, that I had his signature. Going over his name with my finger and sending him loving glances through the class period. I couldn’t think of anything else. The first bell rang for us to clean up and begin to line up at the door to go home. I cleaned my area, got my masterpiece with the cherished note in it and headed to the line. Suddenly, one of the kids behind me pushes me violently into the girl in front of me. She turns around, grabs my masterpiece, throws it on the ground, stomps on it, slaps me across the face and says “that is for sending my boyfriend a Valentine”.
At that moment the bell rang and everyone left. I sat there picking up my masterpiece… sobbing. I was partially sobbing because of my masterpiece, partially because the entire class just saw what happened and then the rest was because my face throbbed in pain. So, I picked myself up and began the long walk home with my broken masterpiece, hoping the hand print on my face would go away before I got home.
Like I said… being hit in the face with a bloodied goats hyde would have been a much happier situation!