I wish I could say that the world has moved on since my last journal but it seems the shift towards nationalism spreads ever wider. I watch with bewilderment and sadness as hate and selfishness seem to be the flavour of the moment. I am just glad that I am not of this ilk.
Valentine's Day is approaching fast and the shops are full of all things red. Red hearts, red roses, red ribbons. Chocolates are piled high and, in England, it seems all the food retailers imagine everyone will be tucking into a fat juicy steak. I have never seen so many adverts for steak as I have this year. It is a great time of year for the latest Fifty Shades movie to hit the screens as they obviously see a link between said "action" and a romantic Valentine's Day evening at home. Or maybe they see it as the perfect antidote to romance. This is another of those times of year where the true meaning of the day has been taken over by commerce who have made it into what they want it to be. But hey.....that's fine. If people need an excuse to tell someone they love them that's fine with me. Probably better to not need the excuse but if it works......it works.
It got me to thinking about what the true meaning of Valentine's Day actually is? Was it ever more than it is now? Maybe it is only here at all because it was invented. Well, like many things, it has a murky history which is unsure and has more than one possible basis in fact. I'm not entirely sure the story I have found makes it any better than it is now but here goes.
I would like to say up front that this is, in all likelihood, not going to be "the truth" but it is based on some of the things I have found out. Maybe it will turn out to be Fake News
I apologise if so as I tell it with a clean conscience and a pure heart
The history seems to be a mixture of Christian and Roman backgrounds. Who, in fact, was Valentine? There appear to be three main contenders who were martyred. One was a priest in 3rd century Rome who defied Emperor Claudius II by continuing to marry young lovers after the emperor had banned these marriages as he thought single young men made better soldiers. Unfortunately he was discovered and was put to death.
I'm going with this one. Valentine was a prisoner who fell in love with a young girl (possibly the jailor's daughter) who he met while in prison as she visited him. Before his death he is said to have written her a letter signed "from your Valentine". Well, obviously it was before his death
This has become a token of love and the character of Valentine is always seen in a romantic and loving light. To be fair it probably wasn't this one, I just like him.
By the middle ages Valentine had become a very popular saint.
Why is it celebrated in mid February? Some think it is because birds first mate at this time of year. Others think it was when the church made a move to Christianise the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. I do not vouch for the accuracy of this story either and I'm sure there are those who know it better than I but members of the Lupercia would gather at a sacred cave where Romulus and Remus were said to have been raised and cared for by a she wolf. The priests would sacrifice a goat for fertility and a dog for purification. They would strip the goats hide and dip it in the blood before taking it to the streets slapping both women and the crop fields with the hide. This was a fertility rite and the women welcomed the touch of the hide as it was believed to make them more fertile for the coming year. I'm not sure how this next bit would go down today (well I think I am sure
) all the young women in the city would put their name into a big urn. The city's bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. It is claimed that these matches often ended in marriage. I'm quite sure it often didn't too.
Lupercalia was outlawed at the end of the 5th century as being un Christian. Pope Gelasius declared Feb 14th St Valentine's Day.
It wasn't until after 1400 that written Valentines messages really began to appear. It grew in popularity through 17th and 18th century and printed cards became more common after 1900.
There you are. A history in brief of St Valentine's Day. I wouldn't believe a word of it though.
What I would do is take a moment from your busy lives and spend that moment telling your loved one what they mean to you. As with many things in life, it is easy to take things for granted. Whether that be your health or the beauty of nature. At this time in my life I take things for granted less and less. There have been too many surprises and shocks in the last couple of years so each moment becomes that more precious. Do not waste your moments. If you love someone then spend your time loving them and being loved by them. Never forget the excitement of when you first met. I know things change over time but if you look inside yourselves I hope you can still find that spark that set you on the path you have been travelling together. It is a long road, sometimes a bumpy road. It may have a fork in it or two and the wrong path can be taken but if that spark is still there then waste no time. And do this every day. Not just on Valentine's Day.
Now here is some art. I have been collecting again and it has been a couple of months since my last feature so lets get to it. As always I will try to represent as many as I can. Your beautiful works light up my life. If you are new here welcome, if you have been here a while, I'm always glad to see you and your creations. I welcome back one or two have been on a break too.
I do hope you enjoy these pictures. They are made by some amazing people so if you have a moment, perhaps you could drop them a comment or a fave
Thank you. I'm sure they will appreciate it
So please enjoy your Valentine's Day if you can. Maybe there is someone you would like to know a bit better out there. This is the perfect time to let them know.
Take your courage in both hands or you might never know if it is meant to be.
Take care of each other and love each other. Love your fellow humans too. Fill the world with love. It will always win over hate in the end
As always, I send my love to you all and wish you all good things, good health, happiness and love.