Violets are Blue,
about Hype! I mean, in the last few weeks, Valentine's Day
seems to have dominated every sphere of day to day life,
at least in the U.K. The whole country seems to have been
gripped by Valentine's day-Mania. Every time we switched
the television or radio on, or walked into any shop be it
departmental store or supermarket we would be bombarded
by a whole array of ideas for celebrating Valentine's Day
with our spouses, partners, boyfriend/girlfriend, or "that
special someone". If we weren't being told that a box
of handmade chocolates or a bouquet of red roses would be
the ideal present, then we were being brainwashed into booking
a candlelit dinner at some exclusive restaurant (actually
any restaurant, come to think of it, I'm surprised McDonalds
didn't come up with a Mac Valentine burger!). And of course
for those who really wanted to splash out, how about a romantic
weekend for two in Paris or Rome? How can we forget about
the crass saying about diamonds being a girl's best friend?
The extent of the commercialism is really quite staggering.
This not to say that I am anti Valentine's Day, on the contrary
I am all in favour of the idea that one should take any
opportunity one can to make our loved ones feel special.
Come on who wouldn't feel good about being made a fuss over?
I am no exception.
where did this whole rose giving, "I love you"
tradition come from? Despite there being different versions
of where Valentine's Day originated from, one version that
I found interesting was that in Ancient Rome, February 14th
was a holiday to honour Juno, Queen of the Roman Gods and
Goddesses. The Feast of "Lupercalia" which was
a feast to a heathen God started the next day. During these
times boys and girls were separated. However, the young
people had a custom that began on the eve of the Festival
of Lupercalia. The girl's names were written on pieces of
paper and placed into jars. Each boy then drew a girl's
name from the jar and the two were partners all through
the Festival. After being paired, the young couple would
often continue to see each other throughout the year and
on occasion even fell in love and got married. Ahh, how
sweet. But enter the villain, Emperor Claudius II of Rome,
also known as Claudius the Cruel was finding it difficult
to recruit men as soldiers. He was under the impression
that the men did not want to leave their sweethearts and
thus decided to cancel all engagements and marriages throughout
Rome. However, St. Valentine, a priest of Rome at the time,
married couples in secret. He was eventually caught, arrested
and condemned. He was beaten to death and beheaded on February
14th, around the year 270. Pastors and priests of the early
Christian church did away with the pagan custom of Lupercalia
by replacing the names of the girls with the names of saints.
They chose St. Valentine's Day as the day of celebration
for the new feast. And as with all things, this has evolved
into the current day tradition we are used to of giving
gifts and sending cards professing our love to those who
we consider special.
to confess that these days Valentine's Day seems to have
taken on gargantuan proportions and people make incredibly
overblown gestures. And in some ways it seems to detract
from the underlying principle itself. Rather than finding
simple ways of expressing our feelings, we seem to be running
from pillar to post searching for novel ideas and elaborate
gifts to show the extent of our love. We have moved on from
the ideology of "it's the thought that counts"
to the concept of "how much did your thought cost".
I was joking with my husband that when we were in University
it used to be quite a thrill to receive just Valentines
cards even if the cards always seemed to be sent by "anonymous"!
Sadly he claims never to have sent me any cards anonymous
or otherwise for Valentines Day while we were in University.
Now he tells me I guess I will never know who sent me those
cards!! What is funny is that people ask you what you did
on Valentine's Day and if you come out with a "stayed
in with the family" or "had dinner with friends",
you get sympathetic looks as if to say "oh you poor
thing"!! And gentlemen, if you haven't hired the entire
restaurant all to yourself, filled it with roses and had
someone playing the violin discreetly in the background
then you are a total failure as a husband! One can learn
so much from watching Hollywood and Bollywood films.
all very well to use Valentine's Day as an excuse to express
ones feelings but we really shouldn't forget that there
are 364 days remaining in the year that can be just as special.
(R) thedailystar.net 2004