Thursday, February 11, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day

by Carolyn Finch

Life has its ups and downs and when we are down we are feeling sorry for ourselves. When we are up we want to share ourselves with others. Isn’t it interesting that the reading of a heart beat also goes up and down hmm-mm? Then comes a day in February that is called Valentine's Day. Did it start with the card companies? No it started in 260 AD. It happened during the rule of the Roman Empire, and the beginning of Christianity. Now picture the Romans in their Togas.and think what it might have been like at the pagan Lupercalia Fertility Festival.

To begin the festival according to the History Channel, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman Priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome were thought to have been cared for by the she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat for fertility and a dog for purification. The men would then cut the goat hide into strips, dip then into the sacrificial blood and go into the streets gently slapping the women and the crop fields with the goat hides. Roman women were not fearful but welcomed  the touch of the hide because it was believed to make then more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day according to legend, women of the city would put their names in a big urn. The city's bachelors would each pick a name and become paired for a year with their chosen woman. Sometimes these relationships would lead to marriage.

The celebration was tolerated by the early Christians but when there was more power the Christian church  named the Lupa celebration St. Valentine's Day to Christianize it more. By the Middle Ages Love found it's way into the yearly celebration of  St. Valentine's Day and the first written valentine greeting was in 1400. Who was St. Valentine? That is a lively discussion you may wish to have after you Google it. There was always much confusion and controversy about the day and the saint so in 1969 the Roman Catholic Church removed the Saint and the retailer took over. 

You may be a part of the 120  billion dollars spent on this holiday every year in the United States. This is spent on candy, flowers and gifts. (jewelry wins out.) So go ahead and share yourself with others through whatever means you wish. For me love hugs are the best. Think about what is the very best gift you can receive? It is another day of life. So breathe deeply, put your hand over your heart, feel it beat and think about the ups and and downs in your life and move on with gratitude. Now reach around your body with both arms and give yourself the biggest hug you have ever had, you deserve it!      Happy Valentine's Day.

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  1. Chocolate and jewelry are so much better than being slapped with bloody goat hides! Thank you, Carolyn, for the image...