If HR Giger sent out Valentine's Day Cards...

Valentines Sermon
(If you just can't take a post on the origins of Valentine's Day, feel free to click here instead.)

Valentine's Day has come once again to the Black Vatican, complete with the giving of the traditional love-gifts; cards, chocolate, and small ponies*. Although the Catholic Church dropped St. Valentine's Day from the Roman calendar of official, worldwide Catholic feasts in 1969, the Ministry recognizes him as the Patron Saint of Chocolate and Nookie. Since the Ministry has no wish to encourage the crass commercialism of this solemn holiday, we take a look at the roots of this awkward day.

There were actually three martyred saints named Valentine - one was a Roman priest, another was bishop of Interamna (modern Terni), and the third was from Africa. The first two were contemporaries, and both were martyred in the second half of the third century. Of the third, it is only known that he suffered and was killed along with a number of his companions - when and where are lost to history.

Although there is no real concensus on how the modern Valentine's day celebration came to be, it is usually suggested that Mother Church wanted to place a less lacivious holiday over the traditional festival of Lupercalia, which took place on the 15th of February. I found this charming little description of those festivities...

"In general, the ancients viewed Lupercalia as a purification and fertility rite. The ritual involved the sacrifice of goats and a dog in the Lupercal (the cave in which the wolf suckled Romulus and Remus) by priests called Luperci, who smeared the foreheads of two noble young men with the blood of the sacrificed animals and then wiped it off. At this point, the youths were required to laugh. Then the luperci, clothed in loincloths, ran about the area, lashing everyone they met with strips of skin from the sacrificed goats (called "februa"; hence the month of February). Young wives were particularly eager to receive these blows, because it was believed that the ritual promoted fertility and easy childbirth. Ovid writes, "Neither potent herbs, nor prayers, nor magic spells shall make of thee a mother - submit with patience to the blows dealt by a fruitful hand." A lottery was conducted as well, where the names of available maidens were placed in a box and drawn out by the young men. Each man accepted the girl whose name he drew as his love - for the duration of the festival, or sometimes longer. These ceremonies were accompanied by much revelry and drinking."

The lottery idea sounds like fun, but knowing my luck I'd draw the name of some angry young lesbian, and all things being equal I prefer chocolate over being lashed with freshly peeled, bloody goatskin.

If you're with someone, give them a litte extra squeeze on Monday. If you're not with someone, squeeze a stranger. A total stranger. Squeeze them tight so they can't get away. When the cops arrive, sqeeze them too - cops love hugs. Later, in your cell, give yourself a little sqeeze as well.

Go in Peace.

*Ask Raksha about the ponies...


Post a Comment