An Evil Plot

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.

42 Comments on “An Evil Plot

  1. All of these ‘special days’ we are meant to become a part of are nothing more than manipulated dates to aid corporations in raking in the big bucks. It’s insanity really. Here we are driven to go out and buy candy to give one another when in fact sugar is now known to be highly toxic to our systems! We continue to pay to kill ourselves. My number one life law that I live by is: ‘If the Govt says it is good for you it is bad, and if they tell you should do something don’t do it!’ If you live life assuming whatever they are trying to convey to you is a lie, you should do or think the opposite, then you’ll be just fine 🙂 We should be sharing our love EVERYDAY not just on Feb. 14th. That is what is wrong with the world, it is severely lacking love. By the way, it’s interesting the way your header with ME running into each other spells out the word [meme]….http://www.ask.com/wiki/Meme Create good memes with your site T. Together we can all change the world! Have a great day T…Blessings to you…VK

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    • Hi VK, thanks for commenting!
      I agree with your comment of the corporations gaining financially with these special days – they’ll use any excuse to get us to spend our money earlier every year! I think I saw a TV advert for Easter on Boxing Day, for example! I do my bit and don’t buy into it (most of the time), but sometimes I feel as though I have to rush out and get it just because of the advert. I’m still learning! 😀
      I’d never heard of the phrase meme until I was a few months into my blog, and then when I did I thought a meme was something bad. I considered changing the name of the blog at the time, but decided to stick with it. But every now and then I get an urge to change it again. I hope that my posts help people to feel good, which I think is a rather nice meme to be passed around.

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  2. I enjoyed your history of St. Valentine’s Day. I don’t celebrate the day. I have no significant other. I do usually give a token candy or stuffed animal to my granddaughters but even they are getting a bit old for that now, but they usually like a bit of cash to go with a card. Teens usually do. I have jury duty that day. That’s how I’ll be celebrating–sitting in a large auditorium waiting for the court clerk to tell me if and when I’ll not be needed and I’ll be free to leave. It will be a long, boring day except I’ll bring reading material with me.

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    • Hello Mary, I’m pleased you enjoyed my interpretation of events from almost the beginning of time… I like delving into history and then ‘tweaking’ it slightly! Teens aren’t the only ones who prefer cash though 😉
      I hope your jury duty goes well, and the day works out just as you would like it to be. At least there’s two of us with definite plans for Valentine’s Day this year! 😉

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  3. I don’t celebrate Valentine’s day as I have NEVER received a card or gift and those I did give out were accepted, but not reciprocated.

    Bah humbug! Indeed! 🙂

    Hmmm… I think you just described our politicians and certain Police Officers who are now in deep sh1t for lying about a government Minister…:)

    God Bless!

    Prenin.

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    • Hi Prenin, I know it’s nice to give and not expect to receive, but every now and then it’s nice to receive. Ah well, for certain things, I actually think it’s nice not to give! 😉 Bah humbug!
      Actually, quite a few could fall into the humbug category, thinking about it…

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  4. I think you would want to use this video on your article: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGx7q4O6w2w
    It tells exactly how Valentine was captured by Claudius, and was executed, right after he wrote the eternally remembered ‘from your Valentine’ letter.

    Feel free to embed the video, it is using CC attribution.

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    • Thanks for commenting and providing the link, Andre. I think I’ve covered most of what’s in your video, but it’s always nice to get things confirmed. That’s a good animation!

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    • Far too much chocolate for my liking, Tess. And strawberries and champagne. And loved-up messages and people. I told you there were lots of twists and turns, didn’t I? 😉 Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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  5. love the post and new look around here aqua thanks for your good wishes valentines day a load of rubbish really if you love someone you tell them everyday not one day a year xx jen be well

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    • Hiya Jen – and thanks!
      And of course you do… there seems to be quite a few of us who aren’t keen on Valentine’s Day!
      Keep well yourself, Jen!

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  6. I do everything I can to ignore the day in question! Though your post was very interesting 🙂 I do recall one slightly disasterous V day when a very sweet non-English speaking work collegue bestowed me with a beautiful gift and a lovely card…unfortunately it read “To my HUSBAND on V’s Day…!!!!” Oh well! He tried! I never told him of his error after all it’s the thought that counts…but that about sums up V’s Day in Wolfie world! lol 😉

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  7. You almost…just almost convinced me that you detested Valentine’s day…but then…I saw through your “Bah Humbug!”..lol
    As usual commercialization of a day that should have been about celebrating love between people have made it less than what it is meant to be…I think.
    And you know, just like the meaning of Christmas…I think it would do well for it to be Valentine’s Day everyday! Except the ridiculous price of roses and wine and stuff…that’s totally so sad how companies cash in on this!

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    • I don’t detest it, in all honesty, Shree… I just think it shouldn’t exist; but if it didn’t, I’d have nothing to write about around this time of the year(not that there’s anything new in that regard! 😉 )
      And as for the prices…! Totally sad…

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  8. Thank you for being the Valentine’s Day historian with this post, Tom. Last year, my gf and I who were going through a rocky period worked things out so we had a pretty decent VD. In fall, she ditched me, and I’ve been too busy to try to get back together with her or move onto someone new. I rather appreciate being spared the expense of buying a candy heart.

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    • I’m rather the Valentine’s Scrooge, if I’m honest LA. I love history though, so I don’t mind taking a peek every now and then!
      Sorry to hear you were ditched; they do say keeping busy takes your mind off things. Treat yourself to something far better than a candy heart… something that you know you are going to like!

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  9. I love the way everyone reacts so differently to the theme. It is always interesting to see what thoughts are sparked by it.
    Personally I think Valentine’s day has become all about commerce. The day for spending more than you should on stuff that could bebetter done at another time of the year.

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  10. I have never been a fan of Valentine’s Day, for which I’m sure my husband is grateful. I have no expectations, and half the time, I forget the day completely.

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  11. More like crashing in on the day with tact then cashing in -a subtle evil mastermind you excel.

    I still enjoy the day, the memories associated, though I keep my real thoughts and plans personal and close to the chest as I do religion. As an romantic at heart I cling to it’z and bit’z of it.

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  12. The Card industry make money out of these evil days Tom.. along with Mothers Day Father’s Day, and all the other Days they can think of us to get us to buy a Card or a gift!… loved your evil plot 🙂

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