Valentines and vinegar

Struck me that as St Valentine’s is getting mentioned all over the show, this cynic ought to write something about it.

What I’m writing is this: if you love someone, why not love them quietly and privately all year round rather than on one consumer-focused day when you announce it to the world?

Also, am I wrong in thinking recent generations have removed the fun from it? Who remembers the days of anonymity, where people sent cards (through the post) to people they fancied going out with? A secret admirer! That was quite exciting. Anonymity meant you didn’t know who it was from, and imagination could kick in and try to work it out.

Now it seems husbands send them to wives and vice versa, girlfriends to boyfriends and vice versa, and even children to parents and vice versa. I’m not sure why. If you are not sure whether your partner loves you or not, my advice would be to tackle the issue or get rid, not rely on a card to tell you that someone is going through the motions.

I do get the idea of having a celebration in February because it is such a damnable month, either cold and wet, or cold and snowy or cold and dry, winter, basically, and pagans loved a celebration. But who was this Valentine guy anyway?

Well, the version I like is that Valentine was a priest in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realising the injustice of the decree (though maybe Claudius had a point) defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death because he had the final say and the power. If self-sacrifice is a virtue, Valentine had it in spades.

In Victorian times, Vinegar Valentines were sent, which were rude and insulting. In a caricature of Valentine’s Day, these were also sent anonymously so you would try to work out who hated you. Now we have social media for that.

Here’s a few pictures, anyway. What are your thoughts? Have we lost the true meaning of Valentine’s Day?





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