Friday, 14 February 2014

14th February 2014 - Where's the Apostrophe ????

It is February 14th, St Valentine's Day for many - and a day to have a rant and a go !!

Not just because I hate the commercialism, which I do, or the inane cards or the unnecessary Americanisms or the shallowness or the fact that the superstores have been filling their shelves for weeks!!

Not because the day is yet another Church-steal from the old world ceremonies.... The Romans had it better with the original festival of Lupercalia. Of course the Romans stretched it out over 3 days - the 13th to the 15th because a single day is insufficient for a decent festival...

The Roman romantics "were drunk. They were naked," says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile.

The festival began with the sacrifice by the Luperci of two male goats and a dog.  Next two young patrician Luperci were led to the altar, to be anointed on their foreheads with the sacrificial blood, which was wiped off the bloody knife with wool soaked in milk, after which they were expected to smile and laugh. (they did I am sure - remember the bit about being very drunk!)

The sacrificial feast followed, after which the Luperci cut thongs from the skins of the animals, which were called februa, dressed themselves in the skins of the sacrificed goats, in imitation of Lupercus, and ran round the walls of the old Palatine city, the line of which was marked with stones, with the thongs in their hands in two bands, striking the people who crowded near. Girls and young women would line up on their route to receive lashes from these whips. This was supposed to ensure fertility, prevent sterility in women and ease the pains of childbirth.

Those Wild And Crazy Romans...  Can't fault them really !!

The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, um, coupled up for the duration of the festival — or longer, if the match was right.

So Why Valentine? Well, Emperor Claudius II executed two men — both named Valentine — on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D. Their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine's Day.

Later, Pope Gelasius I muddled things in the 5th century by combining St. Valentine's Day with Lupercalia to expel the pagan rituals. But the festival was more of a theatrical interpretation of what it had once been. Lenski adds, "It was a little more of a drunken revel, but the Christians put clothes back on it. That didn't stop it from being a day of fertility and love."

Around the same time, the Normans celebrated Galatin's Day. Galatin meant "lover of women." That was likely confused with St. Valentine's Day at some point, in part because they sound alike.

So Lupercalia turns into St Valentine's Day - but that is not why I am irate today ....

In all, there are about a dozen St. Valentines, plus a pope.
The saint we celebrate on Valentine’s Day is known officially as St. Valentine of Rome in order to differentiate him from the dozen or so other Valentines on the list. Because “Valentinus”—from the Latin word for worthy, strong or powerful—was a popular moniker between the second and eighth centuries A.D., several martyrs over the centuries have carried this name. The official Roman Catholic roster of saints shows about a dozen who were named Valentine or some variation thereof.

Valentine is the patron saint of beekeepers and epilepsy, among many other things. Beekeepers is appropriate - bees = honey = mead = falling down (possibly mistaken as epilepsy - I don't know!)

St. Valentine has wide-ranging spiritual responsibilities. People call on him to watch over the lives of lovers, of course, but also for interventions regarding beekeeping and epilepsy, as well as the plague, fainting and travelling. As you might expect, he’s also the patron saint of engaged couples and happy marriages.

Chaucer may have invented St Valentine’s Day.
No record exists of romantic celebrations on St Valentine’s Day prior to a poem Chaucer wrote around 1375. In his work “Parliament of Foules,” he links a tradition of courtly love with the celebration of St. Valentine’s feast day–an association that didn’t exist until after his poem received widespread attention. The poem refers to February 14 as the day birds (and humans) come together to find a mate. When Chaucer wrote, “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate,” he may have invented the holiday we know today.

But that is not why I leave the day with anger and disgruntlement...

I can accept most of the historical transitions, even the extra stocks of chocolate, the naff cards and the TV full of seedy snippets....

But I find the shortening of St. Valentine's Day to "Valentine's" Day a typical piece of modern carelessness and inexactitude...    But ... Whichever version you choose - perhaps wishing to remove the ecclesiastic references and working with the shorter version... It is still the Day belonging to (St) Valentine!!!


[and for the grammar fanatic - there is no question mark because it is a statement not a question!!! ]

And so I have a my rant ...   It is enough to drive you to the bottle...

Oh!!   A Bottle !!!  Don't mind if I do!

Happy St. Valentine's Day !!!

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