My best friend and I, are currently sharing a burden; its name is Valentine. You know that specific day that restaurants, stores, hotels and etc. make it twice as expensive because who wants cheap romance. That one specific day of the year that someone chose for you to show your affection. Or make you drown your sorrows in cheap champagne because you have no one to show your affection to.
Let me tell you more about this wonderful day in the High Middle Ages, February 14th. Once upon a time there was this Saint under the name of Valentinus. He lived a wonderful life in the High Middle Ages trying to escape the Black Death or some other weird religious persecutions. Unfortunately he was imprisoned, for performing marriages on soldiers that were not allowed to marry. In our time he would be probably called an activist. In any case as he was imprisoned, he said to have healed the daughter of his jailer Asterius. Legend says that right before his execution he wrote to her “from your Valentine”.
This holiday was not always celebrated with tasteless candy and crappy Hallmark cards. It dates back all the way to the almost pre-Roman celebration of Lupercalia. A festival in February between the 13th and the 15th, a cleansing ritual for the sake of health and fertility. This was celebrated by having:“ many of the noble youths and of the magistrates run up and down through the city naked, for sport and laughter striking those they meet with shaggy thongs. And many women of rank also purposely get in their way, and like children at school present their hands to be struck, believing that the pregnant will thus be helped in delivery, and the barren to pregnancy.” In case you don’t know what a shaggy thong is or really want to have a full image of this fiesta, it’s an old way of saying goat hide.
Well… Alright then. I am pretty sure that shaggy thongs were innuendos back then for their own “sticks”.
This makes the day seem a little less romantic. Somehow the death of this guy turned into the day of giant orgies and fertilities. Which later became a holiday of overpriced chocolates and flowers in exchange to get laid. November and October as a matter of fact have the second highest birth rate right after August and September (if you are slow, meaning someone got laid on Christmas).
Yet here I am, with my friend, buying jellybeans and pop rocks and looking at those heart shaped boxers and thinking maybe this holiday not so bad after all.