You may or may not be aware, but I’m not one for Saint Valentine’s Day. All that love and stuff – peh! I much prefer the celebration of Halloween with all it’s monsters and witches and ghosts and stuff.
Even though I don’t ‘do’ Valentine’s Day, I still create a special seasonal header for my blog, and devote a post or two to this annual nonsense. You could say that I’m cashing in on the day, which would be true if I did cash in. But as I don’t it isn’t. True, that is.
Now, my ‘favourite’ day of the year has been commemorated since the Middle Ages, apparently. There have been a couple of dozen Saint Valentines, or thereabouts, and confusion abounds as to which one actually is celebrated on February 14th. And quite a few of them met their end on February 14th, coincidentally.
Records from the days back when the first St Valentine is said to have lived are sketchy at best. And quite a few ‘facts’ are probably based on folklore or legend, which makes the stories possibly more interesting. And therefore, many of the St Valentines who met their maker on February 14th may actually be the same person.
The first St Valentine, or Valentinus as he was known to his friends, lived in the early Third Century. He was a roman priest arrested by Emperor Claudius Gothicus; his crime: marrying Christian couples. The tale twists and turns from here. Claudius actually liked Valentinus, and they became friends, even though Valentinus was a prisoner.
Valentinus tried to convert Claudius (Claudius II as he was generally known back then) to Christianity, which in the days of the Roman Empire wasn’t the wisest of decisions he could have made. Not surprisingly, Claudius wasn’t impressed and demanded that Valentinus change his faith… or be beaten and then beheaded.
In the year 269, on February 14th, Valentinus was beheaded. And again in 270. And once more in 273. Like I said, records were sketchy back then… however, if history is to be believed, the year 273 is likely to be a myth… and quite possibly 270 as well, as Claudius II died in January 270 after contracting the plague during one of his many battles in ancient gothic Europe… however, it is also possible that his judgment could have been carried out after his death. Twists and turns – you’ve got to love them!
But there is also another twist to the tale. A couple of centuries earlier, in 753BC to be exact, Romulus created the first Roman calendar, based on Lunar cycles. It had ten months, and a gap apparently. January and February never existed in those early days. The second Roman King, Numa Pompilius, rearranged the calendar, and added the extra two months, so it is entirely his fault that February 14th came into existence. The calendar has changed again since then, but February 14th has always been there to this day.
If we were still living by the first Roman calendar, we’d be ‘celebrating’ Valentine’s Day either in the middle of a gap or not at all. Which, when you think about it, is what Valentine’s Day is… a date that fills a gap between the Christmas and Easter holidays. Yes, I know, before you say it… bah, humbug!
To me, it’s an ordinary day. This year, it’s an ordinary Thursday. I’ll be working. I won’t be plotting to send an anonymous card to my loved one, and I’ll glue my letter box shut so any of my admirers can’t inflict the same on me. I’ll buy my own chocolates, strawberries and champagne, thank you very much, but possibly after the day, when the prices are more reasonable.
And, I’ll be preparing another Valentine’s Day post or two. Well, I’m planning to, anyhow…
Sideview’s weekend theme this week is The Evil Plot, so I turned the theme inside out and rather than writing about a sinister plot or two, I decided to try to convince you all that I utterly detest Valentine’s Day. Well, evil is the opposite of love anyway, so it kind of fits. And I don’t utterly detest it. Not utterly.
Humbug: Humbug is a person or thing that tricks or deceives or talks or behaves in a way that is deceptive, dishonest, false, or insincere, often a hoax or in jest. The term was first described in 1751 as student slang.
1. Something intended to deceive; a hoax or fraud.
2. A person who claims to be other than what he or she is; an impostor.
3. Nonsense; rubbish.
4. Pretence; deception.