Happy Valentine’s Day, or at least it will be at the end of this week, right? What do you think of when you walk past this holiday isle in the store? Do you wander through the isle looking longingly at the pink candies wrapped up in their bags. Or do you stare at the different sizes of heart-shaped boxes of chocolates hoping you get one and not the other? Do you avoid the isle all together because you just hate the ‘Hallmark Holiday’ and all it ‘stands for’?
History of St. Valentine’s Day
There have been several recognized Saint Valentine’s by the Catholic church. One such saint was martyred under the Roman Emperor, Claudius II, for performing marriages against the Imperial decree. Claudius desired for his soldiers to remain single. He thought a single soldier would fight better without the distraction of wife and family. Valentius found this decree unjust and continues to perform marriages for Roman soldiers. He was executed for his disobedience. For the pagan world, the Ides of February (February 15) was the celebration of Lupercalia. This celebration was for the god of agriculture, Faunus. The The Roman priests of Luperci would begin the festival by sacrificing a goat for fertility and a dog for purification. The goat hide would then be dipped in blood and the priests would walk through the fields and towns, slapping both crops and women with this ‘fertile blood’. At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius outlawed the celebration of Lupercalia as non-Christian. He chose Feburary 14 as Saint Valentine’s Day. During the Middle Ages, France and England helped to solidify February as the month of love by noting it was the month of courtship and mating of birds. The first Valentine poem written and archives is in the British Library in London. It was penned from the famous Tower of London by Charles, Duke of Orleans, where he was a ‘guest’ in 1415 following a battle.
Why We Celebrate
I have not always celebrated Valentine’s Day. Back when I was young (and single), I celebrated whenever I had a boyfriend who was willing to lavish me with gifts. I would proudly display these offerings and hopefully they were more abundant or costly than those around me. When I was single, I decided it was a “stupid holiday” and berated those who did celebrate. Since being married, I have come to realize that my celebration of this holiday has been very self focused. Very ‘me’ centered, and I believe that is wrong. Being married has shown me the true depth of love a woman can have for a man. Valentine’s Day give me a chance to buy a card or make a card for my husband that helps me to express my devotion to him. When I receive a Valentine’s Day gift from him, I no longer care how large the gift is, or how long he took in hunting for it. It’s about our marriage and remembering how far we have come, and how far we want to go.
We choose to celebrate marriage because, sadly, our culture does not. In a society that leans heavily on co-habitation and scorns the ancient tradition of marriage, someone needs to be celebrating this institution. Oh, don’t get me wrong, we apparently love weddings. In the United States, couples will spend between $19,242 and $32,070 on a wedding (not including honeymoon, just ceremony). It’s a day for the bride to be focused on, showered with accolades, and adored. It’s all about her! I believe that this trend of ‘loving a good wedding’ shows how our society has skewed the marriage celebration into a self absorption fest. But marriage is more than a wedding ceremony; marriage is more than a day of revelry; marriages should not begin in self absorption. It signifies the beginning of a long (sometimes hard) journey, and that is why we choose to take this opportunity to celebrate our 17 years of married life. This week, my husband is helping me to write a series on Love and Marriage. We are even offering a giveaway! The winner will receive a $10 starbucks gift card so that you can go out for coffee with your husband and celebrate being married. Look each other in the eye and remember why you got married over a steaming cup of joe. Won’t you join us as we work through this series on Love and Marriage? Enter for the giveaway below and come back tomorrow to find out why my husband loves marriage!
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