I’m sitting alone tonight because the husband is working late to compensate for the work that might back up later this week when he takes days off to celebrate our anniversary, which is this weekend. Nevertheless, it’s no secret to anyone who has *known* me around these parts that I have never been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day.
I’m not against the holiday per se, because anything that encourages married couples to connect has to be bestowed at least some redeeming value. On the other hand, I’m real big on the notion that connections made throughout the year mitigate the need to buy into the pressure of canned romance on Valentine’s Day.
As a homeschool parent, I’ve made several attempts over the years to research and nail down the origins and history of St. Valentine and the feast day which bears his name. Each time, I come away with a mishmash of sources, saints, and stories about how St. Valentine’s Day came to be.
I’ve basically come to the conclusion that St. Valentine (whichever one of the three is the right one), ruffled the feathers of Roman emperor Claudius II. Whether because he performed secret weddings, refused to renounce his faith, or fell in love with a jailer’s daughter, no one knows for sure. The Catholic Church removed the feast from it’s liturgical calendar in 1969 due to its questionable origins, although the RCC has kept it.
What is known is that 1) St. Valentine wasn’t associated with erotic love until Chaucer connected the two, and 2) the choice to make the feast day on February 14 coincides with an attempt to offer a “Christian” alternative to the Roman fertility Feast of Lupercalia, which took place of February 15.
The Catholic Church removed the feast from it’s liturgical calendar in 1969 due to its questionable origins, although the RCC has kept it.
This murky Valentinian landscape just makes me further question the whole deal. And when a holiday is successfully transformed into a high pressure Hallmark event where men lament getting it wrong and women lament not getting anything, I see it as just one more thing that undercuts our ability to be content and peaceful in whatever state we find ourselves.