February 14 is Valentine's
Day in the US, and a few other countries. It is loosely based on the
Roman lover's festival of Lupercalia.
people don't know there were actually two Saint Valentines. One was
a priest in Rome, another a Bishop in Interamna. Strangely enough, both were beheaded. In their honor, people everywhere have
since been losing their heads on Valentine's Day.
And as if two headless clerics weren't enough to inspire tons of romance and passion, we throw in this little nude cherub named Cupid (Eros to you Greeks) who flies about shooting people in the heart
with arrows. I assume that's why red is the primary color of the day
-- all that internal bleeding and all.
Cupid was the Roman God of Love who stayed with his wife, the Princess
Psyche, only at night. Actually, that's not a bad deal at all if you can swing it, guys.
in England celebrated the holiday beginning in 1446. They would write
their names on slips of paper, and draw from a vase for a partner. And
here we in the US thought we invented wife swapping in the 1960's.
the 1700's, the custom of pinning these slips of paper to one's sleeve became popular, where it was worn for several days
after. Romantics would have you believe that this is where the expression "He wears his
heart on his sleeve" comes from, when actually, this was an early attempt to pinpoint and follow-up on
any sexually transmitted diseases.
During the 1800's in the US,
the custom of exchanging cards adorned with sea shells and seaweed became
popular. I guess if you're going to drown in a sea of sentimentality, you might as well have the appropriate accouterments.
So there you have it folks. May the Headless Horseman bless... No wait...
(wrong headless guy, that's Halloween...) never mind.