Valentine’s Day is not a holiday created by greeting card companies. It is not a day to make single people feel left out or a day to lavish your significant other with candies, cards and other crap. As with every other religious holiday, marketers have found a way to commercialize history and exploit the celebration of faith. I’m not saying I don’t participate in chocolate covered strawberries or sarcastic valentine cards, but I can say that I know the history.
St.Valentine was a catholic priest in Rome in 269. He is the patron of love, marriage and the young, and his day of feast is February 14. The story of St.Valentine is unclear. Some say he was martyred for his faith, others say he was jailed for defiance against Claudius (king at the time). The story I learned goes a little something like this… St.Valentine married couples and taught Christianity when it was a crime to do so. He was caught, beaten and stoned. He survived and attempted to convert Claudius which was the last straw and was ultimately beheaded. Regardless of the details, we know he existed because archaeologists found a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to St.Valentine. In 496 AD Pope Gelasius dedicated February 14th to honor his martyrdom.
The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
This next story provides a little more relevancy for the ol’ blog. Gangsters and cuddly love just don’t mix. It is said that Al Capone organized the brutal 1929 mass killing on a rival gang to become the Crime King of Chicago.
Several of Capone’s goons dressed as police officers raided the SMC Cartage Company garage that the Moran gang used for illegal business and pumped seven men with 90 bullets from submachine guns, shotguns and a revolver which was dubbed the St.Valentine’s Day Massacre by the media. No one was ever sentenced to jail for pulling the trigger. The following decades, Chicago fell victim to Al Capone’s mob and organized crime.
Roses Are Red
This post isn’t meant to put a damper on anyone’s plans with their sweetie. It’s just a reality check. Instead of getting caught up in the flowers, the reservations and the raging hormones, we should take a few minutes to think about why this celebration really means. Let’s celebrate love, appreciation and gratitude instead of empty wallets. Normally I measure my love through the amount of glitter caked on my crafts, but I will take it seriously for once. I love my family for our colorful history and for raising me with strong values. I appreciate my friends for giving their time to support me through good and bad times. I am grateful for a boyfriend who is proud of his faith, works hard towards big goals and treats me like a queen even when I’m being a brat. What are some uncommon ways you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Don’t be afraid, this is a judge-free zone.
Violets Are Blue
I know a few people who swear off Valentine’s Day, chocolates and anything heart-shaped in February. These people are not all single either. Some feel attacked by society and lash out at public displays of affection, others refuse to allow one day to change their routines. I’ve heard so many justifications… “It’s stupid to treat my boyfriend to gifts today because I love him just as much all of the other days of the year…” or “Valentine’s Day just reminds me that no one loves me except my mom…” or “If I plan something big then she’ll know I can do it and expect it all the time.” and my favorite, “Flowers just die anyways.” Why does it have to be about boyfriends and girlfriends? Everyone has someone to appreciate. Celebrate Valentine’s Day by making that person feel loved.