It’s February 14th, which means it’s V Day!
When people tell me it’s V day, I’m not really sure what to think. Is it Vagina Day, Vacation Day, Vacuum Day, Vagabond Day? I mean really what does this damn V stand for? I ask someone and they tell me it’s Valentines Day, a day to celebrate love and the joy that comes from having love for friends, family, and lovers. Well that certainly sounds like a holiday I can get down with because I’ve at least got some friends and family and I definitely love them but where does it come from? I decided to search online for some answers and I so I googled “The History of Valentines Day.”
Valentines Day is supposedly named after a Saint named Valentine of Terni (Valentine of Rome), who was martyred on about AD 269. There is a rich tradition of legends that surround him and this day. What is not contested is that he was killed in some way, so may he rest in peace. The question is, was St. Valentine put to death in protest of Emperor Claudius outlawing marriage for single men in order to keep a healthy and strong armed forces? Was he martyred for freeing Christians from Roman prisons? Did he actually create the modern Valentine card by sending a greeting card to a young girl while imprisoned? Or was it actually the Christian church turning the pagan tradition of Lupercalia, a day connected to fertility, into a more holy day?
The fact is that we don’t know the true story of Valentine’s day, just what we’ve pieced together and that it likely is a mutation of many of the legends. We also get the main gist and it’s that Valentines is about love.
How did we go from the death of a martyr and pagan feasts to greeting cards, boxes of chocolates, and romantic dinners for two? Well it comes down to poetry. Poets, writers, artists, etc have notoriously fucked things up for the rest of the world, turning what could just be normal sadness into those of heart wrenching and debilitating throes of madness and melancholy, battles into ill fated losing conquests, and love into the only thing worth living for on earth?
It is told that The Parliament of Fowls, a love poem, was written by Geoffrey Chaucer in 1382 to honor the first engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia. You can go here
to read it in Old English. He references St. Valentine in his poem.
“For this was on Saint Valentine’s Day,
when every bird cometh there to choose his mate”
Well, thanks for nothing Chaucer. As the day itself grew, love poems such these ones became more expected. The rise of greetings really began after this era. Take note, this is more than 1100 years after St. Valentine was martyred.
As we all know by now, Valentines day is one of the most contentious holidays of the year. It tends to be one that is either loved or despised by the masses, but what about the huddled few that honestly don’t give a shit at all? It’s just a day in my calendar and I’ve got at least five other things that need to get done today like my workout and a blog. (Oh… getting the latter done right now).
Last year alone, people spent about 20 billion dollars on things like dining out (this is the biggest spender with almost about 10 billion going towards food alone), candy, flowers, getaway’s, jewelry, and more. All this for a holiday that may never have existed if it hadn’t gotten a little traction from the arts community.
For all those people getting valentines, the majority are for lovers, with the minority given to friends and family. My opinion is that people are really just giving out these “other” valentines so that the singles don’t feel slighted.
Many singles have decided to rise up and start their own tradition of an Anti-Valentines day, which ironically enough still often includes things that they rise up against, including anti-valentine greeting cards, voodoo dolls, and candy. We all know that candy fits right into feeding both happiness and sadness so it’s a welcome addition to any package.
Why do singles feel the need to get a gift of angst? Honestly I’m still not sure. I’m currently single and sassy and I’m not just saying that. There is no void that I need to fill with gifts and sappy messages. As a single I don’t feel that I’m “missing out” because I’m not and if you’re also single you’re not either unless you’re currently moping around the house hoping for someone to come sweep you off your feet.
Lately I’ve been having a lot of talks with my “taken” friends many of which now are married with children and they have given me quite a bit of perspective. “You get to do what?” They say as I talk about going out to multiple shows a week, playing shows with my band on the regular, sleeping whenever I want to, leaving the city on a whim for another destination, writing blogs. “Where do you get all that time?”
Well… I just don’t have the same obligations. It doesn’t mean that at some point I don’t want to be pressed for time with the whole shebang of kids and husband, it just means that right now I’m enjoying single life because it only lasts for so long.
So single people, I do understand your longing, I really do. At almost 33 I feel my biological clock ticking, but it’s okay because shit… this weekend I get to film a music video with my band, go to a party and not worry about shaving my legs because no one’s going to see that ish till winter’s over. Enjoy your single time, don’t be pissed at the world because some “one” doesn’t love you, hopefully you’ve got lots of wonderful friends and family so some “dozens” love you.
So what am I gonna do this Valentines? Well it’s actually a friend’s birthday, so I’m gonna spend this day spending a few dollars on her day of birth. It may ultimately be counted as Valentine’s spending, but that’s okay because I love her too.
If you really need a Valentine gift, I’ll get you one, it just needs to be in the realm of $0 dollars because I’m currently a struggling writer.