Love is in the air

14 02 2012

Written in my best Barry White/Love Doctor Voice

Love is in the air, baby. (Barry White).  It is in the air, in an envelope, in a box, in a vase and for some in a little blue pill.  Magical love, baby.  Valetine’s Day is/was always filled with the air of romance and love.  Or was it?

Valentine’s Day (VD), or Saint Valentine’s Day is a holiday that has its origins in the Catholic Church.  First established in 496 AD by Pope Gelasius I to honor early Christian martyrs named Valentinus.  More specifically Valentine of Rome, a priest in Rome who was martyred around AD269 and Valentine of Terni, a bishop who was martyred during persecution of Emperor Aurelian.  In 1969, the Roman Catholic Church, under the direction of Pope Paul VI, removed the holiday from the General Roman Calendar stating that “nothing is known of Saint Valentine except that he was buried on the Via Flaminia on February 14.”

The celebration of VD didn’t have any romantic links until the 14th century.  Some poet named Chaucer wrote “For this was Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”  This poem was written to honor King Richard II (King of England) and Anne of Bohemia’s engagement.  It is thought that Chaucer was referring to February 14 as Valentine’s Day but February is a unusual time for birds to mate in Jolly England, just literal drama to muddy the waters.

By the 15th century, VD had evolved into an occasion where lovers expressed their love by presenting flowers, confectionery (sweets or commonly referred to as butt candy) and handwritten greeting cards.  Hallmark thanks you.  The 19th century gave way to mass produced greeting cards, more than likely because we cared enough to send the very best.  It is estimated that 190 million valentines are sent each year in the USA (U.S. Greeting Card Association, for real,  you can’t make this stuff up).  The popularity of the internet has also changed VD with the creation of e-cards and something called “love coupons”.

So now you can understand where the thought behind your gift came from.  While you chew on your chocolate, or slip into something lacey, or smell the fresh bouqet, or pop the blue pill if your feeling randy, you will be able to have an intelligent conversation on the Holiday that resembles nothing of its origin.  Hallmark thanks you as does the diamond industry and the candy makers of the world.

To all of you ladies in my life.  Big, small, young and old, know that you are loved and very appreciated.  Happy VD!

 

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