Well folks, it’s that time of the year again: a time for joy, festivities, fun, and hopeful anticipation for your dreams to come true!With all of that being said, it’s also a period in the calendar year that can bring depression, anguish and angst if you are on the losing end of the spectrum. No, I’m not talking about the Super Bowl and its embellishments, but rather Valentine’s Day, the feast of Saint Valentine and all of its extravagancies and travesties alike.
Despite what some modern day Americans may think, historically speaking St. Valentine’s Day is not the first or only celebration of inter-gender relations in February at all. In fact, much controversy surrounds the truth of the story of St Valentine, and the reasoning for the implementation of his holiday to begin with. I did some research and was surprised at what I was able to find.
The earliest known celebration of February love went on long before Saint Valentine even existed. It was known as the Lupercalia festival, a pagan holiday which was celebrated in ancient Rome to commemorate the beginning of spring in mid February. In that area of the world, the Ides of February (February 15th) marks the beginning of spring.
The Lupercalia festival was supposed to be a time for ancient Romans to give thanks to Faunus, the Roman God of agriculture, as well as Romulus and Remus who were the founders of Rome. According to Roman lure, those who sacrificed adequately and gave the proper recognitions to their God’s and founders would be blessed with supreme fertility with their significant others, thus making the Lupercalia festival a holiday for pagan love. Once Christianity rose to prominence and less of the populace subscribed to pagan beliefs, there came an effort to “Christianize” the February festival of love. People no longer wanted to pray to Gods who they did not believe in anymore but they still wanted to partake in February’s love shenanigans. Early Christians found a way to have their cake and eat it too.
According to Christian history, around 270 AD Valentineus of Rome, who was a priest, was martyred for his Christian practices. Valentineus (or Valentine in today’s English) continued to marry couples even though marriage was outlawed by the state at the time, and for that he was found guilty of treason and killed. Valentine was later canonized (made a saint) by the Christian papacy and in 498 A.D. Pope Gelasius declared February 14th to be Saint Valentine’s day. This is where the story gets interesting.
The tale of Saint Valentine is widely considered to be true by many Christians and many historians alike; however there is a large contingent of skeptics about the specifics of this story. In 1969 when the Catholic Church held its second Vatican council, historical inaccuracies in the story of St. Valentine were revised and the feast day of St. Valentine was changed to July 30th. The plot thickens further, in these same 1969 church meetings the Vatican officially recognized three saints by the name of Valentine who may have lived in Rome during the third century. No one seemed to be able to identify exactly which Valentine it was who Pope Gelasius was talking about when he decreed that February 14th would be St. Valentine’s Day. This is for the simple fact that the circumstances surrounding the life and death of these three Valentines are shrouded in mysteries, myths, improvable rumors, and the general unknown. The more one delves into thought about this subject and the decree of Pope Gelasius, it becomes obvious that this holiday that we know today as St. Valentine’s Day is based largely, if not wholly on fiction. Not only that, but the fact that the feast of Saint Valentine was placed smack in the middle of February, one day away from the Lupercalia Festival is hardly a coincidence either. Christians were calling for an official Christian decree to justify their continued participation in February “love” activities that would otherwise be considered unnecessary and even amoral, and Pope Gelasius answered that call in 498 A.D. when he gave us Valentine’s Day.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re saying to yourself “So what? So we bend the truth a little bit so we can have a day for happiness and festivities
with the one that we love? Where’s the harm in that?” I guess I can answer that question by simply saying, I guess there isn’t much harm in that. This is what makes America great! You have the liberty to buy whatever lies and sacks of bologna that are shoved down your throats by the powers that be. Land of the free baby! Love it or leave it!
So if you want to run around buying all kinds of cards and candy, supporting our economy based on emotional devastation that’s fine. Just don’t call it Valentine’s Day. Call it “Love Day” or “False Sense of Security Day” or “Spike in the Suicide Rate Day” or even “I’m Only Buying This Crap So My Girlfriend Won’t Give Me Any Crap”… Day. The possibilities are clearly endless, just don’t call it Valentine’s Day, because this supposed guy that goes by St. Valentine might not have even existed and if he did exist he had nothing to do with cards, candy or cupid. It’s a nice story and all, but that’s all it is, a story and it’s masquerading as the truth.
Again I know what you’re thinking. You’re saying to yourself “Why does this person think so negatively? What’s the point of an article bashing such a nice thing as Valentine’s Day? What’s wrong with this guy?” Well, this one particular piece of literary art is multi-faceted; it serves more than just one purpose. Not only is it meant to defraud the farce of a holiday that we know as Valentine’s Day, but it is also meant to prove the point that nothing is done without a reason. Just as Pope Gelasius implemented Valentine’s Day in the fifth century to steal the thunder from the evil Godless Pagans, we here in America are forced to participate in Valentine’s Day to support the economy which relies on holidays like this to survive. Think about it, it’s inescapable, if you have a significant other of any kind, you must go out and buy all kinds of nonsense for them on Valentine’s Day. For if you don’t, you are labeled a misanthrope or a miser, or just extremely forgetful but any way you cut it those are all unfavorable titles to carry!
I’m not saying that you should stop celebrating Valentine’s Day, in fact at the end of this article I’m going to provide you, the privileged reader, with information about great stores in the Massapequa area that carry marvelous Valentine’s Day gifts. What I am saying is that you shouldn’t need an excuse to do something nice for the one that you love, and when you do show the one that you care for how much you love them, it shouldn’t be based on materialism and consumerism, it should come from the heart. Whether you choose to believe the story of St. Valentine or not is inconsequential, carry love in your heart and show it off often, regardless of when society tells you that you should and shouldn’t.
Now, when you do participate in Valentine’s Day, support your local Mom & Pop shops people.If you don’t meet all of your Valentine’s Day needs on the massapequaNEWS.com “Shopping” page, call them directly:
Stepinto L.I. Picture Frame & Art Gallery at 4780Sunrise Highway in Massapequa Park for a piece of artistic brilliance, or a beautiful frame for one of your own or call them at 798.8400!
Have a sports fan in mind for Valentine’s Day? Stopby Last Licks in Massapequafor all of the sports memorabilia you could ask for, including autographed material by famous players from all of your favorite New York teams! 541.6326
Want to plan a nice Valentine’s Day dinner over some fine cuisine? Make a reservation at Stillwaters in Seaford for romantic dining in a nautical, relaxing atmosphere – complete with fireplace! 783.1999
If you want to send some fresh flowers to your loved one on Valentine’s Day, think Feldis Florist for the freshest flowers & the most competitive prices around! 1-800 800.LILY (5459)
Looking for some fantastic Italian Cuisine to eat with a loved one on Valentine’s Day? Wine and dine at Café Toscano on North Broadway in Massapequa! Dial 798.4500 to make your reservations today!
Do you have a special woman in mind on Valentine’s Day? Besame Beauty Salon, conveniently located in North Massapequa, offers gift certificates for beauty services at 293.9079!
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