Wednesday, February 14, 2007
# Posted 9:07 AM by Patrick Belton
A very happy St Valentine's Day to all our reader's and friends!
I was engaged in lengthy conversations with a Karachiite auntie about whether it is a ghastly (and un-Islamic) pagan ritual to practise St Valentine's Day, or whether, as a Christian holiday, it would enjoy the protections of, from her view, a prior dispensation. The answer, of course, is neither: it's purely biological. And no not in the sense Porter is now thinking. There are at least three St Valentine's included in early martyrologies, of whom Acta are preserved for two, but of comparatively late date and little historical value.
What all St Valentine's do share, however, is a feast date; and the belief was current in the Middle Ages that at mid-February, birds began to couple. Thus Chaucer in Parliament of Foules:
For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne's dayThe Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913, to my mind as much an intellectual monument of its time as the 11th edition Britannica, notes 'The custom of choosing and sending valentines has of late years fallen into comparative desuetude.' It remains controversial in some religious Muslim and Shiv Sena circles, where a Jamaat-e-Islami leader in NWFP recently said it is a day on which 'people in the West are just fulfilling and satisfying their sex thirst.' He gives perhaps his opponents too much credit.
Those of you who prefer, though, may celebrate the Lupercalia for a proper bit of pagan fun.
(6) opinions -- Add your opinion
Hallmark, having created the holiday, tries now to catch in with anti-valentine's day sentiment: the anti-Valentine's Day Teddy Bear. Enjoy.
For the person with true style, there's also a Will you marry me? e-card.
I'm quite fond of the better version of those classic candy hearts.
The companion piece of the picture:
Latest Bin Laden Videotape Wishes America 'A Crappy Valentine's Day':
"The teddy bear that holds the 'I love you' heart does not love you at all," Bin Laden said. "It is an unliving, unholy thing filled only with stuffing. Just as the Western infidel is not bestowed with the blessings of Allah, so shall he go unloved by the false bear."
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