Monday, February 14, 2011

The TRUE Origins Of Valentine's Day (Guest Blog)

Guest Blogger: For nights when the Vampire Chet is stuck in the bathroom without a key!
Good Evening, Chester's friends

I hope each and every one of you is well and in good spirits. The name on my current Texas driver's license is Remington, indeed, an alias, but not far off the mark from the one that saw me brought into the world. This night, Chester has done me the honor to fill in for him, since he is more or less "unpleasantly indisposed." While I am undoubted a meager substitute for Chet's rather perspicacious delivery, I will endeavor to do my best to fill his shoes. I can assure you, it is only for tonight.

With all apologies and pleasantries out of the way, I'll stop beating my breast and get to the task before us.

As I am quite certain you all know, today is Valentine's Day.

Did you remember to sate your sweetheart? Flowers, candies, gifts, and that like?

For your eternal sake, I will presuppose that you have done so. Haha.

I had four young ladies to remember myself, no mean achievement, but for modesty and brevity's sake, I will disclose no more.

Have you found yourself at-a-pace coming to contemplate just what it is, or was, that shaped our Valentine's traditions? Have you done so while driving homeward from the card shop in a rather grumpy disposition? Have you wished to know who it is that is worthy of blame??

Ecce Homo.

Here I am.

I can imagine the look on your faces at this moment, but, verily, it is the truth. Valentine's Day is, at least in one picayune half-measure, my curse upon humanity. For this, I am truly sorry. Haha.

Before I delineate into the full marrow of my "confession" on this matter, perhaps a digression (I'll be brief) into some history.

Valentine is a more modern "Angloization" of the late Romano-Latin cognomen (first name/personal nickname) Valentinius, or even sometimes, Valens.

The Valentine's Day was once a "Saints Feasting Day" honoring two St. Valentinus' who were martyred for their Christian faith. No, beg my pardon, three martyrs named Valentinus. It was a common name prior to the year 600 Anno Domini. (I had a great-uncle who was named Valentinius, full disclosure.)

A Valentinius of Rome, A Valentinius of Interamna, and a Valentinius out of Roman North Africa. All were martryed after 196 A.D. with the latest being the Valentinius of Rome. Legends say the North African Valentinius was martyred on February 14th, but not a soul save himself alone knows for sure if this is true.

All these separate Christian martyrs who, just by happenstance, all were named "Valentine" along with various Christian legends, were together congealed into a central figure of a "St. Valentine" and he was given his own Saint's Feast Day in either 495 or '96 A.D.

They lend not a fig of romance to the story. Patience, dear reader, I am getting to that.

There was a Roman fertility festival (read: lovemaking) called "The Festival of Juno Februa" for the fertility of couples (Juno was the goddess-wife of her husband Jupiter, the sacred marriage) celebrated in the week of the 14th. Hence where one gets the name for the modern month of February, as it were. The "St. Valentine's Day" was an attempt to commandeer this popular pagan Roman celebration.

Now then, for my part in the tale.

Whether or not Chester may have told you so, I was for a time, briefly acquainted with the renowned (or despised by English Literature students) medieval writer and poet Geoffrey Chaucer.

As what we might call today an executive branch lackey and one known for being a great writer, Chaucer had been tasked to pen something for the occasion of the young King Richard II's engagement. I found him in an alehouse hard at work on it one night, and rather impetuously suggested that if I might find a way to improve upon it, he would buy me a round and a bowl of fresh warm custard.

Sir Geoffrey, never having been a slouch at wagers, eating gluttoniously, nor alcoholism, gladly accepted.

He was looking for a Saint to cleverly reference, to give a line of his Courtly Love poem some "zip" as one might say nowadays. I gave him the name of St. Valentine of Genoa (yes, yet another St. Valentine) because his Feast Day was in late Spring, and as any fool knows, Spring is a good practical season for the arts of love. Courtly Love was all the rage in those days. Chaucer thought it was a right brilliant idea, and told me so, in spite of the fact he was slurring his words a little and spitting small flecks of his custard on my cheeks when he said it.

His poem, known to history as the "Parlement of Foules" is also from whence the idea of calling a madly-in-love couple, "two love birds" is derived.

To make a long story short, mine and Sir Geoffrey's original intention got juxtaposed with the earlier St. Valentine's Feast Day and the St Valentine Of Genoa reference largely forgotten long after the Popes returned to Rome from Avignon. The holiday gets its name from a confusion of Saints, its less-than-honorable intentions from Roman pagans, and the bawdy wit of Sir Geoffrey Chaucer. One swift word from my lips at one careless moment in time ties it all together.

In conclusion, Geoffrey Chaucer is dead, and I am not. We are the reason sirs that you must purchase overpriced flower bouquets and candy in the heart of frigid winter. Since it is apparent I am the only one left standing upright, I must shoulder the blame alone.

All the same, a joyous Valentine's Day wish to you, and again gentleman the world over, I extend my heartfelt apologies. Adieu.

Your Eternal Humble Servant,


a cheeky vampire blogger named Chet who writes about pop culture, monster/horror/B-movies and other crap in generala cheeky vampire blogger named Chet who writes about pop culture, monster/horror/B-movies and other crap in generala cheeky vampire blogger named Chet who writes about pop culture, monster/horror/B-movies and other crap in general

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