The movement to end Valentine’s Day seems more vocal this year. Has our society become so pragmatic that we think a day devoted to love is out of style?
Roland S. Martin’s commentary, “Don’t be my Valentine,” takes the view that since it is not a religious holiday, we shouldn’t celebrate it like we do Christmas or Easter. Isn’t celebrating love as religious as Santa Claus and Easter Bunnies?
Martin indicates that women have become greedy and needy for valentine’s gifts while men are “pawns” who empty “their wallets in order to satisfy their lovers or those around them.” Come on! Martin should get the “Grinch of Valentine’s Day Award.”
I cannot recall one Valentine’s Day in my life when I wanted more than a card. Expecting or even wanting a dozen roses was never on my heart-shaped radar. Jim often purchased a single red rose at the local convenience store and personally delivered it to me at work. Sweet! I could have cared less if a co-worker received a room full of roses. All that mattered to me was the man I loved still wanted me to be his valentine. I’m afraid that I, and millions of other women, do not fit Martin’s stereotype.
Some historians link the origin of Valentine’s Day to an ancient Roman pagan holiday to honor Juno, the Goddess of women and marriage. The Christian version is based on a different scenario. Emperor Claudius II devised a plan to build his army by prohibiting marriage. The idea was that soldiers were not volunteering to fight and die for the emperor because they were reluctant to leave their sweethearts behind. The legend is that Valentine was executed on February 14, 269 A.D. for performing marriage in opposition to Emperor Claudius orders. In 496, Pope Gelasius set aside the day of the priest’s death to honor St. Valentine for being a martyr for love.
Historians claim the dates of many Christian holidays, including Christmas, were chosen to coincide with Roman holidays. Of course, it’s possible that the Romans had so many holidays that it was hard to miss one of them. Is February 14, pagan or Christian? My question to Martin is—what does the Bible call the greatest of all?
Whatever the origins of the holiday, love is never out of style. It is a celebration of the heart and doesn’t inconvenience anyone. We don’t close the banks and post offices for it. Happy Valentine’s Day and may your world be filled with love.