Valentine's Day, a Peek inside Us

By: Henry Lake

"It is a Hallmark holiday" claim the skeptics. You want a card, a gift, a meal in a restaurant. You're obliged to spend, spend, spend.

However Valentine's Day preceeds consumerism, firms, greeting playing cards, civilisation and even Christianity. It is an expression of what it's to be human. Whereas on daily basis pressures squeeze the romance out of life, Valentine's day is an island of corny indulgence in a large sea of cynicism.

One early attempt at valentine romance, saw me commit several days to preparation. Roses, a three course meal, as exotic as a barely inexperienced eighteen year previous may muster and on high of that a singing waiter (an extroverted mate dressed up) to serve the food.

In retrospect the menu was bizarre. Uncooked cauliflower and carrots with a mayonnaise and curry powder dip. For the primary course a slightly watery stir fried rice dish (I didn't have a strainer to strain the rice). This was laced with an over beneficiant serving to of chilli peppers, all teenage boys first learn to cook with chilli peppers. For dessert strawberries and bananas with a chocolate dip. Ah the deep hormonal motivations of eighteen 12 months previous boys. The whole lot was in place and my mate, the singing waiter accomplished my love trap.

Maybe the fascination and intrigues of being in love and notably the physical aspect of it usually are not the protect of eighteen 12 months old boys. Valentines day has its origins in historic Rome and it has survived centuries of non secular interference and censorship to return to resemble what it originally was - a celebration of love and pairings.

The Lupercalia was a Roman pageant celebrated on the fifteenth Day of February. In the Roman calendar February was later within the yr and so the Lupercalia was a spring festival.

This pageant was even old to the Romans, they were uncertain of which deity it honoured. It emerged from the days when Rome was a small shepherding community on a hill referred to as the Palantine and could have honoured Lupercus, who protected flocks towards wolves, Rumina whose temple neglected the place the place the she-wolf suckled Romulus and Remus or Faunus the god of shepherds and agriculture.

Earlier than the times of the good metropolis of Rome the Lupercalia was a really joyous occasion. The foreheads of youths have been smeared with the blood of a sacrificed dog and goat. They then made their manner across the perimeter of the town of Rome adopted by clergymen flippantly tapping women on the best way with strips of the goats skin. This act was to guard them towards infertility.

As Rome grew to become the dominant civilisation of the period, the Lupercalia continued as an necessary part of the calendar. The seeds of the fashionable St. Valentine's Day have been sewn by Roman soldiers who took the Lupercalia customs with them to countries they conquered and occupied. One such customized was the pairing of men with women whose names they chose from a bowl. The pairing continued for the length of the competition and generally beyond.

As Christianity regularly advanced through Europe the church replaced pagan festivals with festivals extra suited to the brand new faith. They kept the days of the festivals the same to ease the introduction of the brand new faith but they changed the title and the rationale for the festival. The Lupercalia's pairing of women and men went towards the teachings of Christianity. In 496 AD Pope Gelasius ended the competition of Lupercalia and changed it with St. Valentine's Day. St. Valentine was declared the patron saint of lovers. The pairing of couples was replaced and people have been, as an alternative, paired with a saint. The name of a saint can be drawn from a bowl and the person who chose it will then find out about, and try to emulate that saint for the following year.

Pairing with a saint and the church buildings concept of St. Valentine's Day lasted a whole lot of years, but the spirit of the Lupercalia lived on in hearts, minds and spirits of the people. By the 15th Century eligible singles began pairing again. Medieval knights drew the names of their valentines from bowls and wore the names on their sleeves swearing to honour and protect them. They'd sing love songs and profess their love with poetry. Finally it grew to become customary to put in writing the verses down for your lover to learn and by the 1600's Valentine cards had become quite elaborate. Probably because of the truth that most individuals had been unable to read or write intricate handmade paper valentines grew to become a traditional mode of change between lovers on Valentines Day and the primary of what might be recognised as a valentines card appeared.

Their popularity was adequate that by the early 1800's commercially produced Valentines had been available. Initially they have been hand painted by factory employees but by 1900 valentines have been made entirely by machines using woodcuts and then finally lithographs.

At present's Valentine playing cards are continuously anonymous. They emphasise both a sense of humour, reputed to be the best aphrodisiac, or a sense of romance - and sometimes both. Fashionable valentine cards will be impolite, suggestive, funny and cheeky as often as romantic. There anonimity adds to the intrigue, hopes and fantasies. Love and romance are a deep a part of the human condition, despite the church's early attempts to vary its which means the spirit of the Lupercalia lives on today. It has survived 1000's of years and it's likely to be around for many more.

As for the success of my early romantic dabblings. Properly the waiter was flat; the food was uncomfortable on the palette, and my date? Nicely, she was well mannered, ate as much as she could stomach and made her excuses and left, in all probability for house and a pint of Gaviscon.

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