Thursday, February 14, 2013

St. Valentine

It’s a commonly held opinion that the only people who think Romeo and Juliet is romantic are people who have never read/seen Romeo and Juliet. A guy with who falls for any flavor of the week is attracted to a naïve girl, and several people die as a result. Valentine’s Day is the Romeo and Juliet of holidays. It seems romantic until you realize that forcing displays of affection is not only disingenuous but not at all romantic. That’s my opinion of modern Valentine’s Day.

Now, I’m not a Down with Love girl. I like romance; I cry watching Love Actually or reading Sense and Sensibility. I like getting flowers. I just want them on a day when the prices aren’t marked up 400%. I want flowers picked out of sincere affection not cultural obligation. Where is the love in buying flowers and candy and dinner to fend off an angry partner?
Valentine’s Day isn’t supposed to be this shallow expression of romance. St. Valentine was a martyr who was killed for trying to convert the Roman emperor around 269. They tried to beat him to death, but when that didn’t work, he was beheaded on February 14. Valentine is also known for aiding and marrying Christians at a time when Christians were being persecuted in Rome, which is how his story got attached to the celebration of couples in the Middle Ages. I hate that a bold martyr’s memory is watered down to Hallmark cards and dinners-for-two. But he probably enjoys seeing all the expressively happy couples. He is the patron of love, young people, and happy marriages, as well as beekeepers and epileptics.

St. Francises tease St. Valentine about his holiday.

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