The Food and Wine Hedonist

leave your inhibitions at the door

The True Meaning of Valentine’s Day

To this day I still don’t know why Boom Boom has NEVER liked Valentine’s Day.

I sorta get it now since we’ve been together for so long.    Here’s how long it’s been – our wedding certificate was carved on stone tablets.    Those of you in the same boat could agree that, at this point, your idea of romance is when your spouse shuts the bathroom door when downloading brownware.   So, I’ve sort of given up on trying to celebrate it.  Which means more wine money.

valentines ecard*

Seriously, I’m not that jaded about the holiday.  I still do love a good romantic story and have always appreciated all the little traditions surrounding holidays like this. 

But it recently struck me that I didn’t know how Valentine’s Day even started.   I knew that it was originally St. Valentine’s Day but now the “Saint” part has been scrubbed away.  I know it’s a tragedy that could be interpreted as another one in a long line of assaults on religion.  But think about it – it’s a little weird buying crotchless panties and giving it to your significant other (male or female) on a day named after a Saint.

To satisfy my curiosity on the origins of the day, I did a little research –

– Apparently, there wasn’t one St. Valentine.  There were probably three of them.

– The one most often cited is this guy in Rome who got tossed in jail because he performed wedding ceremonies for Roman soldiers.   And it wasn’t because soldiers were forbidden to marry each other (like now) – they were forbidden from marrying.  PERIOD.

– While locked up, he cured the jailer’s daughter of blindness which inspired the jailer’s family and servants to convert to Christianity.  He also tried to convert the emperor, which lead to his beheading.  How come you don’t see that on V-day cards?

– The first association of V-Day to romance was attributed to Geoffrey Chaucer who wrote –

For this was on seynt Volantynys dayWhan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.

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– Bryd & Chese?  I was excited because it’s truly a food-related holiday.  But apparently that oh-so-great poet Chaucer couldn’t spell – “For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”

– Nice thought, right?  But February 14th is too early for birds to start mating, so Chaucer could’ve been thinking about a date much later in spring.

– Of course, that’s if you believe Chaucer wrote it.  There were three other guys who wrote poems about birds mating around the same timeframe.

– I also learned there from Wikipedia that there was a chain of events that really allowed the holiday to pick up steam –

In 1797, a British publisher issued The Young Man’s Valentine Writer, which contained scores of suggested sentimental verses for the young lover unable to compose his own. Printers had already begun producing a limited number of cards with verses and sketches, called “mechanical valentines,” and a reduction in postal rates in the next century ushered in the less personal but easier practice of mailing Valentines. That, in turn, made it possible for the first time to exchange cards anonymously, which is taken as the reason for the sudden appearance of racy verse in an era otherwise prudishly Victorian.

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So there you have it.  While its origins are unknown, it’s perfectly clear that for centuries guys have been using Valentine’s Day to get lucky.

Too bad they didn’t have a song like this in Victorian times, because this is all you need to get “in the mood.”

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Could’ve saved us a lot of hassle.

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?  What’s your go-to song to “get things going”?

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About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

7 comments on “The True Meaning of Valentine’s Day

  1. talkavino
    February 14, 2014

    I actually never explored the origins of the holiday, I just took it for what it is I guess as a hopeless romantic deep inside. In any case, we slowly converted Valentine’s day into a family holiday (we used to go to the restaurants, until we realized that it is a complete hassle and waste of money), so there will be good food and good wines. Simply another opportunity to open a “better than usual” bottle of wine.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      February 14, 2014

      Those are the best kind of holidays. Restaurant workers always call Valentines Day “amateur night” because it’s always crazy busy. When we were kidless, we would go the night before or after so we could get a table and it wouldn’t be as crazy.

      Cheers!

  2. dwdirwin
    February 15, 2014

    It’s a Hallmark Holiday- bleck! I’m with Boom Boom.

  3. the winegetter
    February 16, 2014

    We’ve never celebrated it. When I said mentioned on my blog it’s cheesy, someone pointed out that it’s chocolaty. Maybe I’d like it if it truly was a cheese-holiday…I don’t know. I guess I am lucky Nina and I both don’t care for prescribed days of expressing our love for each other. We have anniversary dates which matter…

  4. PinotNinja
    February 18, 2014

    Looks like Fred Durst was right, we really did just do it all for the nookie.

  5. wanderingglutton
    March 2, 2014

    We never celebrate V-Day either, but Ravel’s Bolero is the go-to to get things going.

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This entry was posted on February 14, 2014 by in Music and tagged , , , , , , , .
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