Wednesday, February 14, 2007

St Valentine's Day: Just a vestige?

No, I'm aware of all the public hullabaloo and the pressures on many of you with significant others today, and I'm sure your endeavours may have been worth it, but this screed is, once again, about me.

I can't help noticing how vapid this day is. Like I said, it's oriented toward those with actual infatuation or love in their lives, but as far as the man who writes a blog, had a few fleeting infatuations, had been chewed out by a friend of one of those objects, and hasn't been subject personally to a shred of the theme in the past four years, the day is, I have to say it, terribly inflated. I even believe that the ones who celebrate it often suffer — not necessarily at the hand of their significant other, but themselves as a result of trying too hard. Yes, I know it's nice; no, it's not a day to reserve for only a spastic draught of 'I love you', since that should be present as much as possible. I'll say this about myself about the day: It was only up until grade four that I actually had to go out of my way to buy those Valentine cards for the class, and ever since the day has just avoided my attention, save for the two I got from a pen pal four or five years ago.

So as far as I go, I don't know the pressure that most people are under today, but I still feel sorry for those who adhere to it. As is is today, I just find the idea to just be a needless acme. This day is on par with Mother's Day, Father's Day, and any other subject-specific holiday only in the idea of theoretically dedicating one day to a certain person and screwing off the rest of the time. While I can understand honouring your relatives for raising you well (with an emphasis on the word), I just don't see the point in reserving one day to demonstrate how much you love another. When it comes to love — and I'm being theoretical here — you need to exhibit it as long as you feel it, in moderation, without putting too much pressure on yourself. If you just wait for today to let it peak, it will eventually end up being systematic and irrespective of feelings that you might really have.

The funny thing is that this day started out as a generic Catholic holiday to honour any priest condemned in the Roman Empire before the time of Constantine. The pertinent feast coincided with the feast of Lupercalia, in which runners would streak through town and touch women in the hopes of aiding pregnancy (such a scene is present in the first act of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar). According to legend, St Valentine of Genoa, one of the martyrs the Church chose to celebrate, happened to have secretly arranged marriages and possibly fell in love with a jailer's daughter. Along the line, Geoffrey Chaucer associated the day with romance in a poem. It was later left to modern commercialism to introduce the notion of giving jewellery and chocolates.

As a result, you'll only see the Vatican holding on to the tradition of honour, whilst all the world uses the holiday to go out, don red and pink, and scoop up anything red and in the shape of a heart with which to shower another with the affection they've ostensibly accumulated throughout most of the year prior.

Bah humbug.

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