Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day -- Do you sense Doom?

I have included in the title above a link to the very interesting Wikipedia article about St. Valentine's Day. Apparently, there is very little known about any actual St. Valentine. There are three candidates, none of whom are well-known. Only one of them actually had much in his life to do with anything about romance or marriage, and he fell into disfavor with the mainstream church because he followed the Gnostic heresy.

So, why do we even have a St. Valentine's Day? The folks at Wikipedia say it developed mostly to get rid of the pagan festival of Lupercalia. That might make sense. February might be a time in Mediterranean countries to think about fertility festivals, which is what Lupercalia was about. The holiday did not really take off, popularly, as a romantic deal, until the 14th Century, in England and France. It became a popular notion that birds chose their mates on February 14. People began to exchange love notes, I guess following the birds' lead.

Apparently, by the 1840's, the English had already developed printed Valentine's Day cards. One was sent to Esther Howland of Worcester, Massachusetts by a business associate of her father. Her father was a stationer. Esther began designing, making and selling ornate Valentine's Day cards. The first ready-made Valentine's Day cards sold in the United States took off with a whoosh. Her brother took orders the first year for an astonishing $5,000 worth of cards! They were tapping into an existing market that was thirsting for this product. Miss Howland employed friends and built the business to great success before selling it in 1881.

Now, in addition to cards, the chocolate, florist and more recently, jewelry industries have tapped into this holiday. Rather than being a day to express your own feelings of affection, more and more people run on a sense of IF I DON'T GET IT RIGHT, I AM DOOMED TO LIVE IN THE DOG HOUSE FOREVER. That can't be right! And it plays both ways; I don't particularly want chocolates, cut flowers or jewelry or a card. But the industries work hard until I feel devalued if I don't get something. Man, this sucks rocks.

We have been manipulated.

This Valentine of Doom is actually taken completely out of context from a French website that seems to be about a saga of amazing anime entities like this one:

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