There are a lot of legends about who St. Valentine was. One of the most popular is that he was a priest who performed marriages for young couples during the reign of Emperor Claudius II.
You see, old Claude, figuring that the sole reason the young men of his kingdom had no desire to die horrible, violent deaths fighting a pointless war was because they didn’t want to leave their wives and families. Being so clever as to have figured that out, he proceeded to come up with the ingenious idea of making marriage illegal. That would solve the problem for sure! (Just like prohibition made everyone stop drinking.)
As it turns out, young men and young women continued to fall in love and those guys still didn’t want to die in war. Huh. Go figure?! No WAY anybody could have seen that coming!
Valentine, not wanting these starry-eyed youngsters to suffer lives filled with unrequited love (or… probably more likely… to fall into sexual sin), went ahead and married them anyway.
Claudius found out and had him arrested and beheaded.
If a good beheading doesn’t say, “romance,” I don’t know what does.
Of course, there is the teeny coincidence that the timing of the holiday had something to do with the fact that the pagan festival of Juno (during which time women were sort-of temporarily raffled off to a man for a year) was on February 14. This was immediately followed by the festival of Faunus, god of fertility. The Roman men were no fools. They knew that a recently raffled girl needed some real romance in her life. So, during the festival on the 15th they would dress in the skin of a recently sacrificed goat and dance around, lightly beating their women with whips. Sexy! Not quite as romantic as the beheading, but close.
Hey! It’s not fair to let the Pagans have all the fun! Christian girls like chocolate too! (And our men don’t dress in bloody goat skin. Hooray!)
And so Valentine’s Day was born.
In honor of the ancient history of this noble holiday I suggest we all find a way to defy unjust government rules (but no whining if you get beheaded!), play the lotto (but you only get to keep what you win for a maximum of one year), and engage in a little light whipping. (Whipping cream, that is. You know. As a topping on your rocky road ice cream. Or… whatever…. uh… yeah. I’m just going to quit while I’m ahead.)
Chocolate and roses. Pshf! Who needs that?! (I do! I woke up to find chocolate and roses. Yes, I am bragging. My husband is awesome! Thanks, Baby! I love you, too!)
Happy Valentine’s Day, dear readers. I love you!
PS – AN IMPORTANT NOTE TO THE MEN
It was brought to my attention recently, that the Dollar Tree (everything is just $1!) has been PACKED lately, with men buying Valentine’s Day gifts. If the recipient of the gift is more than 10 years old, this is NOT OK! You may as well do the whole, dancing in a goat skin thing. Go to the mall and get her some Godiva. Go to a local chocolatier and buy something freshly made there. Ghiradelli is a lovely brand, as is Lindt. You will NOT find them at the dollar store. Take it from me – a woman. There is nothing the Dollar Tree sells that is going to thrill her. The gas station is probably not a good bet either. And things like bacon or red panties, wrapped into the shape of a rose does NOT count as “giving her flowers.” Don’t do it.
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