Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The True Story of Valentine’s Day

In just a little over two weeks, restaurants will be filled with doe-eyed couples donning red and gazing adoringly into each other’s eyes, despite the fact that their meal is costing more than what their kidney is worth.(1) Personally, it’s my favorite holiday. (yes, I am one of those people.) I mean, what’s not to love? We have a deranged emperor, a poor blind girl, a massacred saint, and it all ends in the institution that ensnares unites two people into wedded bliss.

Let’s start with the diabolical emperor - Claudius Gothicus. (2) Hmmmm let me plunge deep into the recesses of my mind to find something nice to say about Claudius. (long pause…..longer pause…..still thinking…..If I use more ellipses than something it going to come to me ….) Oh I know, Claudius was really handy with a sword.  Yep, that’s about it.  Claudius spent a good portion of his life massacring Goths and he was darn good at it. He wasn’t too spectacular in the love department.  There doesn’t seem to be a misses Gothicus pulling on his heartstrings in any part of this story.
Claudius Gothicus. The missing nose may have made it hard for him to get a date.

Not one for romance, Claudius didn’t want his soldiers coming to work all weak in the knees and missing their wives at home. His solution was to forbid marriage. That’s not to say he didn’t allow his soldiers some recreational enjoyment. After one successful battle, he wrote to one of his generals that there were so many female Goths captured that each of his soldiers could have not one….but two to three women to rape a piece. (Like I said, not much for romance.)
Saint Valentine, A man who always looked good in red. 

In an effort to preserve the holy union of marriage, a priest named Valentine secretly wed couples behind Claudius’ back. When Claudius found out, he was none to happy and ordered Valentine to be put to death. While Valentine was in prison, one of the judges, Asterius came to pray with Valentine along with his blind daughter. Supposedly, the blind daughter was healed and before Valentine was to be stoned and decapitated, he sent her a letter and signed it “from your Valentine.” 

Valentines Day is the only day that I will tolerate cherubs.

The story does have some dubious sources and may just be the thirteenth century version of Hallmark hogwash. But like most holidays smothered by commercialism, Valentine’s Day does have something sacred at its core - Valentine died for his beliefs. And when we all come off of our chocolate heart sugar high, that’s a great reason to wear red.

(1) I googled ….the going rate for a kidney is 150,000 so as usual, I am exaggerating slightly.
(2) Claudius Gothicus means "conqueror of Goths." He was also called Claudius the Cruel. I think the first name sounds far more bad ass without being so literal.   


Sarah Albee said...

Poor Saint Valentine, but what a lovely tribute!

Amy said...

Valentine's Day is my daughter's birthday and is really and truly the only reason I like it. Up until then, I was a firm believer in only wearing black and refusing all cards or gifts on 2/14. Even chocolates.