Valentine’s Day Rant — Yet Again

I originally published this post on Valentine’s Day in 2018. And again on Valentine’s Day in 2019. For some reason I didn’t post it on Valentine’s Day last year. But I thought I’d repost it again this year to make sure that you, my loyal readers, know how I really feel about Valentine’s Day. Enjoy.


Today is Valentine’s Day and aren’t our little, romantic hearts all aflutter?

Not mine.

I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day. Call me unromantic, jaded, or cynical, but to me, Valentine’s Day is a totally bogus “holiday.” That’s why a column by syndicated columnist Tom Purcell that I read a while back still resonates with me.

Purcell wrote that on Valentine’s Day, women “dream of romance, surprise, and having sweet nothings whispered into their ears — and if such things happen, they hope their husbands don’t find out!”

But for men, Purcell said, “Valentine’s Day is a contrived undertaking that makes mandatory the things — flowers, dining out, expensive jewelry — that should be reserved for the times when we do something really stupid and are desperate to make up.” I hear you, Mr. Purcell!

I started to wonder what’s really behind this so-called holiday, so I Googled “Valentine’s Day.” It turns out that Valentine’s Day was originally observed to honor early Christian martyrs. The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine, all of whom were martyred. Interestingly, no romantic elements are present in the original, early medieval records of these martyrs.

Some historians believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Saint Valentine’s death. Hmm. Did all three saints named Valentine die in the middle of February? Did it happen in Chicago and was Al Capone invovled?

But others claim that the Catholic Church may have decided to place the Saint Valentine’s feast in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia, which was celebrated around the middle of February.

Lupercalia was a festival in honor of Lupa, the she-wolf who suckled the infant orphans, Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. Lupercalia translates to “Wolf Festival.” During the festival, Roman priests would sacrifice a goat for fertility and a dog for purification. They would then cut the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood, and take to the streets where they would gently slap women with the goat hide strips.

Oh wow, it doesn’t get any more romantic than that, does it?Send a Hallmark Card DayHaving educated myself on its origin stories, I am more convinced than ever that Valentine’s Day is the epitome of the expression “Hallmark holiday,” a phrase used to describe a holiday that exists solely for commercial purposes.

Valentine’s Day as a romantic holiday was actually concocted during an intense, closed-door brainstorming session at the corporate headquarters of Hallmark Cards, Inc. The Hallmark executives were trying to figure out how to sell more cards during the lull between the Christmas and Easter holidays. One exec suggested creating a romantic holiday celebrating a Roman she-wolf and some martyred saints. “Yeah, that’s the ticket!” all the other execs shouted out.

That, my friends, is the true story about how the Valentine’s Day holiday in America came into being. (And, as Mark Twain said, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”)

Anyway, I hope you all have a happy Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, mine probably won’t be very happy. When my wife reads this post, there is no doubt that, as Tom Purcell warned, I will have done something really stupid and will be desperate to make up.

Damn you Hallmark Cards, Inc. and your stupid Hallmark holiday.

13 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day Rant — Yet Again

  1. Mister Bump UK February 14, 2021 / 6:41 am

    Must admit I had wonde4red, but never enough to find out.

    We swapped cards. Mine, she made. Hers, I went to a web site which allowed me to customise a free design, downloaded it and printed it out on our own printer on a standard piece of paper.
    I’m very impressed with the site and might use it again for her birthday (though might invest in some card).By default, her’s came with a fluffy message which I just replaced with the words “so lucky”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Maggie February 14, 2021 / 7:27 am

    Not a holiday we celebrate so it holds little meaning to me.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sadje February 14, 2021 / 8:07 am

    Very interesting bit of history. I agree all these holidays are a way to make money.

    Like

  4. Irene February 14, 2021 / 8:14 am

    We had fun choosing fun valentine’s cards and small chocolates for exchanging at school when my daughters were little. Then, we got into going to the store after the actual day, and take advantage of half price chocolate sales, when stores are desperate to find room for their Easter displays, hehe.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marleen February 14, 2021 / 11:33 am

      Yes, indeed, on buying nice candies afterward. I’ve done the same with Halloween (lower end candies).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. RuthScribbles February 14, 2021 / 9:17 am

    I completely agree 100%. Hallmark and retail have desecrated most holidays, but this one is the worst. Especially when the whole class is to have a valentine exchange and one or two students are left out in the cold. ‘nuf said!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. abigfatcanofworms February 14, 2021 / 11:49 am

    I think it’s unfair of Mr Purcell to divide his opinions into those of men and those of women. I know plenty of women who have no time for hot house flowers, commercialized greeting cards and calendar dictated love messages. Australia has adopted the commercial fizz around V Day that I assume came from the US but I am pretty sure that it hasn’t really caught on here, not to the same degree. It’s not about soppy women. It’s about money. It’s always about money.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango February 14, 2021 / 5:10 pm

      I think he was being tongue-in-cheek, but then again, he wrote the article in 2012, almost a decade ago.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Marilyn Armstrong February 15, 2021 / 10:29 pm

    Garry was very glad to learn I really don’t like this holiday. He has enough trouble remember if it’s my birthday, much less Valentine’s day. I really do not like this as a holiday. It ISN’T a holiday. It’s just another way to sell things that no one really needs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango February 15, 2021 / 10:44 pm

      Yep, I agree. It’s a purely commercial “holiday.”

      Like

  8. leigha66 February 18, 2021 / 10:20 am

    But wait there is more. What about October’s third Saturday “Sweetest Day” it was started in 1922 by a candy maker. This “holiday” is supposed to be about gals getting things for their sweetheart. At least it wasn’t Hallmark that start it. Personally you shouldn’t need a day to tell people you care about them, life is short, tell them often!

    Liked by 1 person

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