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Happy Valentine's Day

February 14, 2008

Things have been plenty negative around here the past few posts, so why not offer something a little more positive.

Today is St. Valentine's Day. Being Catholic, I feel the need to cram my religious beliefs down your throat educate folks as to the meaning behind today's festivities.

There are two Catholic feast days held today, one for St. Valentine of Rome and the other for St. Valentine of Terni. Both men are said to have been martyrs for Christianity and thusly were rewarded with sainthood. There is, allegedly, a third Valentine who was martyred somewhere in Africa, but the Encyclopaedia Catholica doesn't give any further explanation. At one point, there were 11 Valentines who were attributed to the feast day celebrated on February 14th.

The first linkage of "love" to St. Valentine's day was done by Middle English guru and poet extraordinaire Geoffry Chaucer (as an aside, it is widely accepted--at least according to the excerpt about him that I read in the Intellectual Devotional--that, if it wasn't for Chaucer, English would never have caught on as a literary language...either French or Latin would have been used instead of what was becoming the English language). In the poem, Parliament of Fools, written in honor of King Richard II's engagement, Chaucer linked St. Valentine's Day with the time that birds began seeking mates.

So there you have it.

The legend has grown around St. Valentine of Rome (or Valentine of Terni...or perhaps they were the same person...difficult to say at this point) as being the first man to link love to his day. According to the most popular legend, Valentine was persecuted by Emperor Claudius for holding secret weddings of young, single men. Claudius felt that married men did not make good soldiers, and thus decreed that young men could not be married, thusly he would have an army of soldiers who didn't worry about their lady loves back home and would therefore become more savage in their ferocity on the battlefield. Or they would be savagely horny and would therefore take out their sexless frustrations on the enemy. Anyway, Valentine was tossed in prison and sentenced to death. The night before he was to die, he sent a note to his lover/mistress/gal...whatever...who happened to be his jailer's daughter (whom, in another arm of the legend, he had healed from blindness). The note was signed "From your Valentine."

So, there you have it. I prefer the horny bird explanation, myself.

There is another tradition that says that St. Valentine spent an exorbinant amount of money on chocolates (which at that time were not as sweet, but yet still thought of as an aphrodisiac) and roses in hopes of getting laid. Instead, his jailer's daughter just wanted to cuddle on the couch in front of the fire. This caused Valentine to become a priest and swear a vow of celibacy. The jailer's daughter ate the chocolates anyway.

I hope you are having a lovely Valentine's Day, nonetheless. In the Jenks household, we are sworn Godiva chocolate fans, and so my wife and I each got each other small samplers of Godiva truffles. Oh em effing gee, they're good. Or they were. I already polished mine off. On my way to work after dropping my daughter off at school, I swung in to Target, seizing the day and buying a bag of those chalky, tiny hearts with the messages on them. I love those things. Of course, I eat so many of them, I make myself sick. *opens drawer of desk and pours out another handful* Oh look, a green one saying "Mad 4 U". Damn, now I'm thinking about Paul Reiser...

The saddest part about Valentine's Day...ESPNews will no longer be running the Pajamagrams commercial. I should have recorded that one, sent it to my friend Chris, and had him prepare an entire four hour tape where that thing just runs on endless loop. The best part about it is that the pajamagram comes with a little sign that says "Do Not Disturb." I can see that actually being hung around the recipient's neck after she puts the pajamas on. Heh.


Alex Galvez said...

Fellow Catholic...great post! I am sure "they" are ending the "dont't ask, don't tell" policy to ensure we get a better soldier out in here in the fields! The Eagles once said the Greeks don't want no freaks....but c'mon! My wife and I too enjoy the chocolates as we are responsible now and booze and level 1 drugs just don't fit into our lives now....ask me again when our ads are moved out and we're empty nesters! We wish you a VD day everyday....keep up the family and I love your new picture of COPE. Was that an original? Very nice.