Posts Tagged ‘Valentine’s Day’

Most people have an opinion on Valentine’s Day. Perhaps you find it a commercial opportunity that pushes merch, candy, and expensive meals.  Or perhaps to you, it is a heartfelt and warm occasion, a day to remember those we love—be it friend, lover, or family.

The name “Valentine” is likely a do-over by the Christian church to take advantage of a much older pagan holiday, the Roman festival Lupercalia.  Itself, Lupercalia descends from fertility and ritual cleansing festivals that populated the ancient world in the months between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox.

Lupercalia, on February 15, carried and celebrated the concerns of people of the day.  Following the sacrifice of a male goat, near-naked young men ran the bounds of the city or village, ritualistically sweeping bloody strips of the hide of the sacrificial animal over willing women and girls. The touch of the sanctified skin was believed to promote pregnancy, ease childbirth, and purify the community.

Lupercalia—and our Valentine’s Day—are among the festivals that signal the coming of spring.  Imbolg, Candlemas, Groundhog Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter all find their roots in the vernal equinox, a solar moment that translates to the emergence of the growing year, hope for fertile fields, and the greening of the earth in this hemisphere.

In this day, a semi-nude man swinging a shaggy hide around the city limits would result in more than one call to local law enforcement. Yet then, as now, internal strife and pestilence rend community and country. The events of the last two years remind us of our interdependence—of what we can do by working together, and how we will die to hold fast to our ignorance.

Valentine’s Day and its cohort speak to deeper tides than candy hearts and spring cleaning. While death is never far, we have these years been challenged for our survival. Whatever your take on “Valentine’s Day,” it is not a bad idea to consider each other with gratitude for what remains and for the seasons ahead.

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Driving up the highway yesterday, the kind with a long stretch.  Undeveloped scrub and greenbelt punctuate older strip malls, a bar, a run-on sentence between here and there.

More terrain, cars pass me due to my preference for the speed limit. An aged sign looms, “Antiques & Collectibles.” A-frame building from decades ago, an arcade of sought and unsought items, once loved, moved on. The building itself a reliquary.  The energy and contents of such places interest me, for many reasons.

But today I am passing through.  On the approach, I notice large cut-out hearts affixed on the tall sign. Closer still, small and large hearts stuck across the storefront. Hearts on the door, and down the length of the building.  A gesture of the Valentine season I admire.

Better yet, the hearts carry on, as hearts do, into the scrub and the forest.  One or two per tree stretching some ways behind the building.  Unnecessary except to make a point that someone within took the job personally.

I appreciate that.

To you, yours, and the Big World, Happy Valentine’s Day.

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I am a fan of Valentine’s Day.  You might already know that.

While some consider this a Hallmark holiday, I consider it a shame there is only one day per year set aside to express gratitude, love and appreciation for the souls that share our planet.

Every single life is story.  Some connections are regretted, some tightly held forever, long after flesh has given way.  All we really have is that story and each other.

For those that teach my children, clear my street, help me through and dig deep to be decent, this day is for you.  In the broad, seething tide that is humanity, if you are capable of love, there is plenty to be had – if only by staring at the stars.

There might be space and light might seem far off, but while we breathe, and when we do not, no one is ever truly alone.

The snow swirls, the stars shine.  Consider the millions of others.  Love sent is love received.  Happy Valentine’s Day.

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