Valentine’s Day Rant — Redux

I have published this same post on Valentine’s Day in 2018, 2019, and 2021. Nothing has changed regarding how I feel about Valentine’s Day, so this re-post is for my newer readers who may have missed this annual rant of mine. 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?

Having 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.

Send a Hallmark Card Day

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.

25 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day Rant — Redux

  1. newepicauthor February 14, 2022 / 7:14 am

    During Lupercalia, men and women would draw tokens with random names on each of them to pair off for games and exchanges of gifts. The young men of Rome ran naked up and down through the city streets during the festival, for sport and laughter striking those they met with shaggy thongs. Many women would purposely get in their way, believing that if they were struck with a shaggy thong by one of the naked youths, that they could become pregnant.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Paula Light February 14, 2022 / 7:44 am

    All holidays are made up, so Vday doesn’t bug me more than Presidents Day, Labor Day, Turkey Day, Xmas, etc. Well, except I still have to go to work today… hey, now THERE is a reason to be annoyed! 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marleen February 14, 2022 / 9:40 am

      Yes, they’re all made up. Valentine’s is a nice vehicle by which to share the news.

      Liked by 2 people

    • donmatthewspoetry February 14, 2022 / 2:35 pm

      We don’t have a Turkey Day down here. Am I missing out on something? ….gobble gobble

      Liked by 2 people

      • Fandango February 14, 2022 / 4:40 pm

        You’re missing out on an annual overeating weekend.


        • donmatthewspoetry February 15, 2022 / 5:01 pm

          I’ll give that one a miss. I prefer my downunder slim self to the obese Yank. Tell me, in general, are many Americans still obese from eating junk food? Not you of course. (Aren’t I being kind?). Many years ago when I was there the sight of obese adults, and kids, was prominent……


  3. pensitivity101 February 14, 2022 / 7:46 am

    Never had Feb 14th as a public holiday or celebration. Just another means of making money for the already rich………. she says having been given flowers today. .

    Liked by 1 person

    • donmatthewspoetry February 14, 2022 / 2:41 pm

      Saw bunch of 10 roses in florist, no fragrance, go all wilty in 2 days. $55. sheesh… what a ripoff….

      Liked by 1 person

      • pensitivity101 February 15, 2022 / 10:10 am

        Oh wow, a rip off indeed. These were a bunch of 12 buds for a fiver, the same price as the other bouquet Hubby gave me yesterday. I would have been happy with either, but he wanted me to have both, bless him.

        Liked by 1 person

        • donmatthewspoetry February 15, 2022 / 5:33 pm

          Don’t know about your ‘ripoff’ roses but these have no fragrance and they wilt after two days. Commercial exploitation. I hate it. Like Christmas and Easter. Say no more………

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Maggie February 14, 2022 / 7:58 am

    We use it as an excuse to have a nice dinner – at home!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sadje February 14, 2022 / 8:32 am

    Now I get your point Fandango.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Myrna Migala February 14, 2022 / 8:57 am

    Do some research on the origin of Valentin’s Day you might be surprised but then I doubt you would be. Love you just the same!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. aguycalledbloke February 14, 2022 / 2:16 pm

    It’s just another day.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jo February 14, 2022 / 7:16 pm

    What do single people call Valentine’s Day? “Happy Independence Day”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. parikhit February 15, 2022 / 11:04 pm

    Now that is some interesting story!
    I believe a lot of groups in India are impressed by the Roman ways of celebration during Valentine’s Day. So during Valentine’s day if an unsuspecting couple is found in a park or wherever, certain groups go about thrashing them because they believe Valentine’s Day is against Indian culture and is a malicious influence of the West in the country. I have heard stories of the groups carrying priests to officiate a wedding because a man and a woman aren’t supposed to be together before nuptials. (Good for the LBGT community :D) And there have been incidents where a brother and sister were almost betrothed by these groups assuming they were a couple!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango February 15, 2022 / 11:22 pm

      Wow, it’s amazing the extremes some people will go to when confronted with what they believe to be an affront to their culture.


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