What are you sacrificing for Valentine’s Day?

Posted Feb 14, 2014 by Kimberly Reynolds
Of all the artificial, consumer driven holidays that have invaded our everyday life, nothing is more special than Valentine’s Day. Nothing says love like pulling out a credit card. However, It wasn’t always that way.
Real meaning behind Valentine s Day
Real meaning behind Valentine's Day
Roman Love
The history of Valentine’s Day has little to do with hearts, flowers and romantic cards. The Romans celebrated something around February 14th called Lupercalia. This holiday was tame by Roman standards of the day and involved men, always with the men, sacrificing a goat, cutting the hide into strips and then whipping the women.
Better Than A Card?
According an article by N.S. Gill, a freelance writer and Latinist, “Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them as they believed this would make them fertile.” Personally, I’d rather go to dinner and a movie, but that’s just me.
The Catholic Church started recognizing St. Valentine’s Day to honor two Christian priests, both named Valentine, who were martyred by Emperor Claudius II. Their crimes were in spreading the Word of God and to marry couples in the Christian faith, which at the time was scandalous.
Faith First
Both of the Valentines were given the option of denouncing their faith or being put to death. Both chose to be put to death and so the Catholic Church honored them by making them Saints and establishing a Holy Day in their name.
The point of the day was to reaffirm your devotion to God and the sacrifice required for faith. Like many Christian celebrations, the date was chosen to coincide with Lupercalia so as to remove the pagan celebration. And, over a few centuries, it did. Sort of.
Cosmetic Chivalry
In the 17th century, the concept of chivalry was all the rage in England. The idea of romantic love, often chaste and unrequited, was championed by the playwrights of the day including William Shakespeare. This concept was taken from the writings of the “Father of English Literature” Geoffrey Chaucer, who of course had a few wives.
To seal the deal, the Christian celebration of St. Valentines was taken over by “romantic love.” Giddy celebrants would leave handmade cards professing their devotion. Not devotion to God, or sacrifice for faith, but more likely to youthful hormones run amuck.
Buck Starts Here
There is a belief that Hallmark, the greeting card company, invented the holiday to sell more cards during the slow period between Christmas and Easter. While not technically true, they were instrumental in publicizing and promoting the “romantic love” connection to the holiday.
The resulting increase in buying the Hallmark manufactured expressions of love was just a profitable coincidence.
This Valentine’s Day, according to the research firm IBIS World, consumers will spend $18.6 billion dollars demonstrating their love. The only sacrifice being honored is the one to the wallet.