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Around The Bluhmin’ Town: Valentine’s Day

Judy Bluhm~ 2/18/2015

How was your Valentine’s Day? It’s that time of year to celebrate all things connected to love, romance, and the color red. Let’s face it, when it comes to Valentine’s Day, love is in the air. Couples go out to dinner (and some even dance!), while red flowers brighten the tables and hearts of millions or lovers. Yes, it seems that Valentine’s Day is all about matters of the heart.
 
Are you a romantic? If you are, then you probably planned something special for Valentine’s Day. If you didn’t, hurry up and try and make it up! Celebrating the “Big Day” a little late is no crime. But forgetting about it all together? That might cause problems.

Have you been seeing red yet? Valentine’s Day is the time to give, receive, and wear all things red – roses, cars, rubies, nail polish, etc. Celebrating this universal “love-day” has become the “big red day,” when all things romantic are the color red. Tens of millions of dollars are spent worldwide on red roses, little red boxes of candy, and Valentine cards. It is also considered a recession-proof holiday. Serious research has revealed that most women who wear nail polish switch to red around Valentine’s Day.

This is not some silly, fabricated, “Hallmark holiday.” The story actually begins around the fifth century in Rome, when mid-February marked the annual Lupercalian festival, held in honor of the God of Fertility. This was one huge pagan festival of sensual pleasure! It was “the season” to fall in love and marry, but many of those Romans fell in love, but didn’t marry. It was just a whole lot of loving, wining, and dining. Unfortunately, when Claudius II became emperor, the party ended.

Claudius believed that romance and marriage (and all the fun that goes with it) needed to stop. He didn’t like festivals. He was suspicious of love (paranoid). He had the notion that marriage was weakening men (ridiculous), and in order to assure that his soldiers would be strong, he banned marriage! He was a crazy man! How cruel for lovers everywhere! Romans suffered greatly the moment that Claudius came into power.

A brave bishop named Valentine could see the trauma of young couples. He started meeting lovers in secret places, performing the sacraments of matrimony. He believed in the freedom to love and the blessings of marriage, so he risked the wrath of Claudius. Eventually, the mad emperor learned of Valentine and had him arrested. Charging him with the dreadful crime of being a “friend of lovers,” Claudius insisted that Valentine stop marrying couples and start worshiping Roman gods, or Valentine would be executed.

Valentine was a man of principles and faith. He would not be swayed by Claudius and was sent to prison to await his fate. While there, Valentine fell in love with his jailer’s daughter, Asterius. Just before Valentine’s execution, he wrote a heartfelt love-letter to Asterius and signed it, “Be mine…your Valentine.” Centuries later, his message still lives on in all those little heart shaped candies with “be mine” etched on them. Valentine was the keeper of the keys to love – he died for it! Was he a hopeless romantic or a man of conviction? You decide.

Maybe that’s what Valentine’s Day is really about. Undying love. It’s not the candy, but the sweetness of romance that it celebrates. What difference does a rose make if you don’t love the person who sends them? And why not wear red – that brazen flash of color that “shouts” out that our love will not be secret, quiet, or go unnoticed. Red is like Valentine; it cannot be subdued. The man who died for his passion, was later made a saint.  This brings us to Saint Valentine’s Day – greatest love fest of all time.

Go on, even though Valentine’s Day has passed, it’s not too late to celebrate! Never miss a chance to sip champagne or send someone red roses. Be romantic. Eat candy. Best of all, (if you haven’t already) make someone feel special by signing a card with those famous words, “Be mine….your Valentine.”

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor who lives in the Anthem area. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at judy@judybluhm.com.