Happy belated Valentine's Day to all of my wonderful readers!
I hope that you were able to celebrate the feast day of a randomly-chosen third-century saint with as much chocolate, hugs, and stuffed animals as your hearts desired. I got plenty of chocolate, and I don't need any $1 plush bears from Dollar General, but I could use a hug from my sister. Typically, I only get hugs from her under three circumstances: if she wants something from me, if she misses me (for example, when I come home from summer camp), and if I chase her around the house long enough to catch up to her and forcibly obtain one.
Other than that, I spent most of my day at church trying to learn a fancy part on the piano that I ended up performing with more mistakes than a seven-year-old's rendition of Beethoven's "Fur Elise." But I'm guessing that no one in the audience noticed. Hopefully.
At any rate, somewhere between the eating of chocolate and practicing of piano parts and my wondering if I should get my sister a box of chocolates or one big caramel-filled chocolate heart, I started thinking about this strange holiday.
Back in the day, people were more apt to celebrate the feast days of Catholic saints than they are today. And there are quite a few saints. To date, there are over ten thousand canonized saints. Things were more simplified in the Middle Ages. There was no such thing as canonization until the turn of the millennium. Local saints were celebrated at a particular place, such as Saint Winnifred's following at her hometown of Gwytherin, Wales. Basically, the only qualification for being a 'saint' was living a particularly holy life, performing extraordinary miracles, and/or being martyred. Most female saints died as virgins, although a few of them were noted for raising their children in the fear of the Lord.
Saint Valentine lived in the 200s AD in Italy. He wasn't a very popular saint, although churches worldwide claim to house his relics. Everyone was too busy preparing for the season of Lent to pay much attention to him. One of the only reasons we might celebrate St. Valentine's Day is a pagan Roman celebration celebrated in mid-February that was aimed to make women fertile. This festival was Christianized because...well, why not?
Valentine's Day picked up speed as time went on. By the Victorian Era, people made and bought elaborate valentines like the one above--not at all like the ones we buy in $2 packs of two dozen. Today, people spend billions of dollars on things to show their significant others how much they love them. I don't have anything against any of that, especially the sugar. This is the one time of year I get Little Debbie cakes. I just think we should try to show people how much we love them every day, instead of just on the day that celebrates the life and death of an obscure saint.
What did you do for Valentine's Day? What did you get? And do you have a hard time getting hugs from your siblings? I'd love to know in the comments below! God bless you, dear readers, and don't forget to like us on Facebook!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.