Thursday, February 14, 2008

Singles' Awareness Day

Back in the day, Rome was surrounded by wolves, so Romans needed a god to protect them from these lupine creatures. Each February 15 they celebrated Lupercalia, a rite associated with the god of wolves connected not to romantic love but to fertility. Here's what Plutarch says:

"At this time many of the noble youths and of the magistrates run up and down through the city naked, for sport and laughter striking those they meet with shaggy thongs. And many women of rank also purposely get in their way, and like children at school present their hands to be struck, believing that the pregnant will thus be helped in delivery, and the barren to pregnancy."

When an early Pope named February 14 St. Valentine's Day, he could have been referring to any of three St. Valentines. To understand how the day became associated with love, well, just blame it on Chaucer. In fact, as you go through life, blame anything you don't understand on Chaucer; it works for me.

The practice of sending cards originated, of course, in the United States, when in 1847 a woman whose father owned a stationery company began printing up embossed love cards. Heart-shaped boxes came about a century later, as did the practice of schoolchildren bringing in a card for every kid in the room.

I'm a traditionalist, which means I'll be spending my day with the magistrates, running around naked with a shaggy thong. Please join me in this anti-capitalistic celebration of the day.

6 comments:

TW said...

I won't be running around brandishing a shaggy thong, or anywhere that I can be struck by one. I believe in zero population growth. Happy Valentine's day!

eastongirl said...

spelling bee champ says...

"Stationery. S-T-A-T-I-O-N-E-R-Y. Stationery."

This is one of the most commonly misspelled words SBC comes across. Stationary, is used when referring to something which stays in one place, such as a stationary bike.

eastongirl said...

I will attempt to remain stationary on this Valentine's Day. I will not run around in a furry thong, nor will I coerce someone to take me to dinner and partake in a way overpriced meal. Valentine's Day should be extended to everyday. Chocolate all the time. Flowers all the time. Lovely little heart-shaped stationery to turn into paper airplanes to throw at men all the time. Love all the time.

Elucidator said...

Relax, spelling bee champ - I fixed the typo. Remember to write on stationery while remaining stationary all day long.

tunsie said...

I have the most beatiful valentine in the whole wide world.she is gonna run 4 president in 2008,and she is gonna win 2.tunsie.tunsie.tunsie

Just Asking said...

You GO Easton Girl, I too am the spelling police, but am apparently an outlaw when it comes to punctuation and spacing. God forbid one puts in TWO spaces. I will not be running in a furry thong, but I will be eating a home cooked meal with my beloved. BTW, my Lucy was courted today by her beloved who arrived with a card and a gift. Arf.