as legend has it, it all began in Rome near the end of the 5th Century.
Tradition was that the Festival of the Lupercian was held sometime
in the middle of the month of February. Now this festival was conducted
to pay homage to the God of Fertility, it was a celebration of sensual
pleasure, a time to meet and court a prospective mate. But, as the
story goes, Pope Gelasius didn't like this festival too much, so in
AD 496 he outlawed the pagan festival. Concerned the Roman citizens
might not take too kindly to his drastic action, the Pope decided
to replace the Festival of the Lupercian with another similar, but
somewhat more morally suitable celebration. It was his aspiration
to create a "lovers" saint that would replace the pagan deity Lupercus.
Enter the martyred Bishop Valentine.
Pope Gelasius chose the Bishop as patron saint of the new festival
and Bishop Valentine became "Saint Valentine". Bishop Valentine it
seems had the misfortune to have been beheaded many years earlier
for helping young lovers marry against the wishes of the mad emperor
Claudius. As legend has it, prior to his death Valentine himself had
fallen in love, with his jailer's daughter. The morning of his execution
he signed his final note to her, "From Your Valentine."
I got thinking
about Valentines Day, thought about everybody rushing around picking
up flowers and cards and chocolate, oh chocolate. I mean Valentines
Day is a celebration, a declaration of ones love for another, so we
must love it, right? I got wondering what people really think about
Valentines Day and about love, so I went
asking. I figured men would grumble and women would get dreamy eyed,
but I found that wasn't necessarily the case. You'll find their comments
below. I made no attempt to identify which comments were from men
and which were from women. I'll leave that fun to you.
I also refrained from telling
them anything about the good Bishop and future Saint or the Emperor
who caused him to lose his head, nor did I mention the Bishop's last
note or the Pope who brought Valentine immortality. I simply asked
two questions, "When I say, Valentines Day, what do you think of?"
and, "When you think of love or falling in love, what comes to mind?"
Here's what they had to say.
When I say, Valentines
Day, what do you think of?
"Valentines Day is too commercial,
love is there all year long. You don't really need a day."
"Silly hearts. Little reminders
to be thankful because you've got it, love that is."
"It's an artificial build up
of expectation, only to be dashed on the rocks of reality."
"It's sentimental love, giving
more value to something than even God had intended."
"It's finding a genuine voice
in the midst of contrived obligation."
"A monumental reminder that
I'm single and probably always will be."
"Roses and my man."
"The best part of Valentines
Day is going to the store on the 15th and buying good candy at half
"Valentines Day means I gotta
go out and get some presents or else I'm in the doghouse."
"Just another bloody opportunity
for card companies and the like. It's selling soap."
"It's a crock. Love has crashed
and burned too often."
"It's Loooooove and happy times."
"Flowers and friends and candy
"Hugs and kisses."
"Pink, white lacy stuff."
"Earrings and good perfume."
"I don't think about it. That's
When you think of love
or falling in love, what comes to mind?
"It's the most important thing
a human being can do."
"It is what happens between
two people, if they're lucky."
"Love is scary and wonderful."
"Hugs! Aye, yi yi, yi yi!"
"The song by ABBA, 'Love Is
"Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music,
'Love Is A Drug'."
"The Beatles said it best, 'All
You Need Is Love'."
"It's the way your heart quickens
when you spot her across the room."
"Love and Valentines day have
nothing in common. One is commercial the other is real."
"It's when you know you'll be
more a person, when you're with that person."
"It's the way he looks at you,
the way you can lose yourself in his eyes."
"Love? It makes the world go
"To be in love takes a long
time, to really know a person. That's what I think."
"Love is familiarity."
"It's when I'm in lust, it's
"Love is an obsession; taxing,
exhausting, every bit of energy focused and you have absolutely no
control. I love it!"
I saved the best for last. Alma
Rosa, a beautiful woman with bright, happy eyes, said it most eloquently
in Spanish. "Amor, poreza sangre. Es lo mejor, es la razon de vivir!"
"Love purifies your blood. It's
the most beautiful thing, it's the reason for living!"
We'll talk next time, From The
to Road Archive