Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The best Valentine's story (re: comments)

There is one other important Valentine memory that I left out in "Hoping for a Letter from St. Valentine."  It is amazing what becoming hardened to social realities will do to one's memory.

One year, in high school, the student council was selling roses that people could buy for another student to express their feelings with either a white, pink or red flower.

My dear sister Charlotte, who knew that neither of us were going to get a rose from anyone, bought one for me. I think it was $2--that's in 1979 dollars. For her, that meant one day without hot lunch. It was so powerfully dear. It speaks to the connection we have that shows why she is still my best friend.

Of course, I was too big of a kid (boy) to cry--and we had enough other stuff to cry about in those days, hidden tears, but it strikes me with that emotion, today.

Thanks Barbara and Valerie P. for sharing your Valentine's stories and reminding me.

Also, here is some Valentine's Day trivia via MythBusters and thanks to Esther:

If you want to profess your undying love to your sweetheart, it's best to stick to red roses, lest she be versed in the language of flowers. Yellow roses signify friendship, dark pink roses express gratitude, and white roses are a sign of purity and reverence -- not necessarily appropriate sentiments for Valentine's Day.

There were several St. Valentines, all of which might claim influence on today's holiday. One was a priest in Rome, the second a bishop of Interamna (modern Terni, in Italy), and the third was in Africa. Little is known about any of these men. While it is possible that both of the Italian saints are meant to honored on Feb. 14, it is unclear which one, if any, inspired the romantic flavor of Saint Valentine's Day.

There are many legends about Saint Valentine -- secretly marrying young lovers, sending love notes -- but none of them can be substantiated. There were at least three different saints named Valentine, and very little is known about any of them. The church established a feast day for St. Valentine on Feb. 14 in order to "Christianize" Lupercalia, a pagan fertility festival celebrated by the ancient Romans on Feb. 15, during which men and women were paired off through a lottery. Although these pairings often led to marriage, the church did not approve and put a stop to it, but the association of the holiday with love and mating stuck.

It was also once commonly believed that Feb. 14 marked the beginning of the mating season for birds, adding to the romance of the date.


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