Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentines Day

There are a lot of holidays.  I think we need more.  But I’m not in any position to demand a Taylor Day (that is my name by the way).  As a teacher I observe every holiday with a thankful heart that I can take a well deserved day off.  Holidays are supposed to be day of reflection but in most cases they are simply an extra day to catch up. 

Some of our holidays are not sanctioned, meaning they have no specific day to commemorate or reflect.  One such holiday is Mother’s Day.  It is a great day to reflect on our Mothers and it is a day that has been set aside for that purpose, making Mothers Day a staple of the weekend holidays, I think it’s the only one in fact.

Halloween is a little bit different it occurs on the 31st of October and is subject to the rotating day of the week.  Like Halloween, Valentines Day is another day that has no governmental sanction also falling on the same day each year.  If you want to take that day off you will have to pay for it yourself. 

Unlike Halloween, Valentines Day is a mostly manufactured holiday that greeting card companies created to sell more cards.   I don’t remember the last time I bought a greeting card for any occasion and to my wife’s chagrin I think I can only remember buying one or two Valentines cards.  Oh well, life goes on….

Evan though I am not a fan of the process of creating a holiday out of greed the idea of setting aside a day of reflection for those we truly love is not a bad idea.  In our hurried and harried lives we often need a specific excuse to excuse ourselves from the mundane and ordinary in order to act a little romantic, putting aside the every day in order to focus our attentions in an extraordinary way.  Men are in some ways forced to close off the Neanderthal sections of our brain (OK most of our brain) and let go of the practical and spend the time toward lofty and more grandurious (new word) endeavors; thinking of those we love and care for, for the purpose of letting them know that we actually do love them, by buying flowers, chocolate or maybe even splurging and buying a greeting card.

Like other Holidays, we often forget about the importance attached to those specific days and need to be reminded to focus on the message that was created by that Holiday.  Valentines Day is no different; we need to be reminded to tell those we love that we actually really love them, so in this regard having a Holiday about Love and Devotion is not a bad thing.

There is some history taken in part from a mysterious St.  Valentine of Rome which started when this Valentine person (he was not a saint yet) was imprisoned for marrying soldiers who were not allowed to merry.  He was imprisoned and while incarcerated healed the daughter of his Jailer, Asterius.  Before his execution the thankful girl wrote a letter and signed it “your Valentine”

No one really knows if this is true but there are numerous older examples of Love invoked accounts with most agree that the day first became associated with romantic love within the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century from a poem: 

For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.

(Those are not misspelled words, they are the original words of the 14th century, and maybe they were just bad at spelling)

There is a fairly strong indication however that due to the many martyrs during the purge of Christianity that had the name of Valentine and through the story of St. Valentine the holiday has a fairly strong historical foundation as well. 

But the holiday never had a future without the advent of the greeting card.   With approximately 145,000,000 cards being sent each year the holiday is alive and well.  The problem is that 85% of purchases are by women. 

The bottom line is that even though we have a holiday about love and devotion women keep it alive as they have always done, shaming men in all areas of romance. 

Is it too late to run to the store, they may still have some cards left, maybe a wilted stack of flowers? 


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