******************************************I have lots of vivid memories about Valentine's Days of my ancient past. As a gradeschool kid, the anticipation of shopping for really special Valentine's cards at the Woolworth's Five and Dime, and how eagerly everyone counted how many Valentines they got - and (most important), how many they got from boys! In junior high (I believe now it's called Middle School and includes 6th graders but excludes 9th graders) it was all about getting those blechy heart-shaped boxes of even blechier chocolates, filled with caramels hard enough to break your teeth on. The gaudier the box, the better! In high school (grades 9-12), it was all about getting a piece of jewelry from that special someone, usually a charm, or a faux-gold and "diamond" heart on an equally faux gold chain; and if you were particularly lucky, you got a going steady ring or, if you were really unlucky, you got a "friendship" ring out of a Cracker Jack box, which meant he just wasn't that into you after all... One rule that no one ever broke back in those days - girls NEVAH bought a boy ANYTHING! Ahhhh, those were the days. I have no idea what kids do these days, if anything, for Valentine's Day. Maybe it hasn't changed at all, except the bling has gotten better and girls now call boys or text them on their cell phones. My goddess! I would have DIED before ever picking up a phone and calling a boy! No wonder the American male has become so feminized. It's not even left up to them any longer which girls they will pick and choose. Instead, they're picked over and chosen like too ripe grapes at the supermarket. Yechhy!
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Valentine's Day
From the Spectrum.com I have to admit, I've never heard of ANY of these versions about the origins of Valentine's Day. It's probably just another one of those thunk-up things by Hallmark greeting cards or one of its antecedents. Origins of Valentine's are varied BY SARAH CLARK • Mother Load • February 8, 2009 Being a student, I find myself fascinated with the origins of just about everything, and holidays are no exception. Unlike certain people in my life who would ban the Easter bunny because of its origins as a pagan fertility symbol, I'm not on my quest to do away with holiday traditions whose origins I find personally objectionable. I just want the information so I can feel smarter than your average Valentine. Looking into the origins of holidays is not unlike cleaning out your fridge. The more you dig, the less sure you are of what you've actually discovered. There are several versions of the Valentine story. I'll let you decide which you prefer. Version 1: Early Europeans believed Feb. 14 was the day all birds began to choose their mates. The belief has its origins in Chaucer, who wrote that Europeans believed this. Europeans, embarrassed they didn't already know they believed this, began believing it and pretending they had always believed it. This led to mass expressions of love as a distraction from the fact that nobody actually knew what they really believed. Version 2: The Pagans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia every February to honor the Roman God Lupercus and thank him for saving their flocks from wolves. Girls' names were drawn from a box by the boys in attendance and the couples were considered partners for a year. The Christians renamed this celebration Valentine's Day and encouraged the pagans to draw the names of saints instead. The pagans weren't having it, probably because dead saints weren't very good kissers. Version 3: Emperor Claudius, annoyed the men of his empire were less than willing leave their wives and fiancÃ©s to fight in his wars, placed a moratorium on marriages and declared all engagements canceled. Saint Valentine secretly performed marriages and was thrown into prison, where he died. It's unknown whether any children of those secret marriages were named Valentine in his honor, because, well, they were secret. Version 4: St. Valentine was imprisoned by Claudius for helping Christians. While in prison, he cured a jailer's daughter of her blindness and/or fell in love with her and wrote her letters signed, "From your Valentine." Claudius didn't like the idea of his prisoners performing miracles and/or writing love notes and had Valentine clubbed and/or beheaded on Feb. 14, 269 A.D. It's unclear whether or not this Valentine is the same as the one in the previous version because they're both dead and can't be reached for comment. Version 5: St. Valentine, upon being rejected by his mistress, cut out his own heart and sent it to her, still beating, as a token of his love. According to some scholars, we give heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and send heart shaped cards in the mail in remembrance of his passion and suffering. I would add mental illness, but I'm sure there's another holiday set aside for that - it's called Black Friday. Whichever version you choose, it's obvious the holiday is steeped in tradition and rich with history. When you look into the eyes of your love this Saturday, remember wolves, wars, disembodied heads and bloody, beating hearts sent through the mail. If you're now too disgusted to give that heart-shaped box of chocolates to your sweetheart, do feel free to send it to me.