Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy St Valentine's Day

Today is Saint Valentine's Day and I hope you all have a really enjoyable day sharing it with your girl friends, boy friends, husbands, wives, significant others or whomever..... (God, I hate being politically correct).

Anyway, I thought it would be good to talk a little about the history of Saint Valentine's Day. It actually started out much more pagan than it is now and did not end very well for the man it is named for....

The History of Saint Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day started in the time of the Roman Empire. In ancient Rome, February 14th was a holiday to honor Juno. Juno was the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also knew her as the Goddess of women and marriage. The following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia.

The lives of young boys and girls were strictly separate. However, one of the customs of the young people was name drawing on the eve of the festival of Lupercalia. The names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man would draw a girl's name from the jar and would then be partners for the duration of the festival with the girl whom he chose. Sometimes the pairing of the children lasted an entire year, and often, they would fall in love and would later marry.

Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II Rome was involved in many bloody and unpopular wars and campaigns. Claudius the Cruel was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military legions. He believed that the reason was that roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. As a result, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome.

[Saint] Valentine was a priest at Rome in the days of Claudius II. He and [Saint] Marius aided the Christian martyrs and secretly married couples, and for this kind deed Valentine was apprehended and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. He suffered martyrdom on the 14th day of February, in the year 270.

The pastors of the early Christian Church in Rome endeavored to do away with the pagan element in these feasts by substituting the names of saints for those of maidens. And as the Lupercalia began about the middle of February, the pastors appear to have chosen Saint Valentine's Day for the celebration of this new feast to replace the pagan one. So that is how the custom of young men choosing maidens for valentines (or saints) as patrons for the coming year, started.

In my family my father was not a person who remembered such holidays and generally believed they were created to interfere with his golf. One year when I was still in High School I knew that his "forgetting" Saint Valentines Day would result in an annual argument at the dinner table so I stopped on the way home and bought 2 cards and some flowers which I smuggled into the house. When Dad came home I quietly gave one of the cards to him to sign and gave him the flowers to give to Mom. The little deception worked and we had peace in the homestead that night (and Mom started fixing a special dinner for Saint Valentines Day).

Unfortunately for me, Dad thought it worked out so well he decided to keep the practice up and expected me to do that for him every year after that, even after I had grown up moved out.

The year after Dad passed away I bought Mom some flowers and a card and when she got them she told me she had known about this "deal" to keep the peace all along and showed me a box where she had kept all those Valentine Cards from the very first one.

My advice to those of you who tend to forget this day, or who may think it is not a very important tradition, is a simple one. It is often more important to your loved ones then you may think and the little effort to express your affection is well worth it....

Today's Reflection:
Be careful of your thoughts, they may become words at any moment.
Live Long and Prosper....

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