the daily column

What is Valentine’s Day?

Oh, let us not focus on this day in particular, arbitrary as it is! But for a question that came up earlier: why today? Why ‘Valentine’, purportedly a priest made Saint, for whom today is named for in the Roman Catholic Church’s feast calendar?

And so the internet provides: Wikipedia’s page on Valentine’s Day essentially states “for no good reason.”

And indeed, the tradition of sending Valentine’s cards, apparently propagated and popularised by none other than Esther Howland, stationer’s daughter, by whose name today is awarded the “Award for a Greeting Card Visionary.”

If that doesn’t send the cynicals up you, perhaps it is the profusion of Saints named Valentine, of whom, err, nothing much is known (Other than they are dead, and saints for it), would help to cement the impression.

(Secondary research is ever so easy.)

So, named after an unknown priest of ancient times, landing on the former ‘pagan’ Roman celebration of Lupercalia (when young men dressed in goat skins ran through the streets of Rome), mythologised by some unknown sources, ends up being Valentine’s Day, a celebration of love, lust, and all good things chocolatey and wrapped in pink.

Far be it for me to be cynical…

Ah well, a celebration of love, arbitrary as it may be, can only be welcomed by the romantics. Next year, mayhaps.

3 replies on “What is Valentine’s Day?”

Leave a Reply