Monday, February 14, 2005

Saint Valentine's Day

February 15th, 2005

in 47421 BCE, Telka the Speaker is wooed by and mated with the father of her first children, the man she names Komar. She learns to count the days in a year by the anniversary of this day each year that she was with him. His love for her led him to throw himself in front of a boar that was charging her; although he saved her and killed the boar, he died from injuries he received. Telka made sure that each of her descendants celebrated this day out of her love for him.

in 269, Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men, in order to make them a better pool to draft soldiers from. The Christian cleric Valentius was known for his defiance of Rome, and many young couples came to him in order to wed. Valentius performed the ceremonies gladly until the local centurion told him that he would be executed after the next one. Valentius relented, but the decree was rescinded in 271 after Claudius’ death, anyway, so nothing ever really came of it.

in 1167 AUC, the Lupercalia Festival is finally made a separate holiday from the festival celebrating the founding of Rome. This festival of ritual matchmaking, popular for hundreds of years, was certainly the highlight of the 2-day celebration at the ides of February, and most Romans felt that it deserved separation from the more staid founding ceremony.

in 498, Pope Gelasius names this day the Feast of Saint Valentine. In his honor, prisoners across the land were given a meal of ox-hearts and red wine, to signify the blood that the saint had shed while a prisoner of the pagan Romans. The traditional feast of hearts and wine continues to this day across Christendom, although the practice has spread from the jailhouse to all those who might need a prayer for more freedom.

in 1415, Pope Henry V commissions a host of poets to compose a series of love notes to Catherine of Valois, in order to woo her into agreeing to become his Papal Consort. After the success of the poems, it became a standard practice in the Holy British Empire to compose poetry for a loved one on St. Valentine’s Day.

in 1847, Esther Howland of Worcester, Massachussetts, thinks up a unique way to celebrate the romantic holiday of St. Valentine’s Day. She constructs heart-shaped cards and decorations of red scrap and sells them from her college apartment. Most people whom she approaches to buy this feel that this cheapens the holiday, and she never manages to make a going concern of it.

in 1952, Mikhail von Heflin and Velma Porter, alone in Carl Thompson’s house since he is hospitalized, discover more than companionship for each other. Porter has fallen in love with the Baron, and von Heflin more than returns the emotion. He prepares to join her to him eternally, in the ritual blood-exchange he was taught in his youth.

in 1965, the Soviet States of America bans the unofficial Valentine’s Day holiday. Comrade Representative O’Hare of Chicago, in her statement calling for the ban, said, “No other holiday so cheapens the idea of romantic love, or saps the will to fight of our comrades in the street, as this so-called Valentine’s Day.”


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5 comments:

Robbie Taylor said...

Sadly, the first comment in several days was spam - and on Valentine's Day, too! How classless.

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Consider it a reverent silence ;)

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