St. Valentine's Day falls on February
14, and is the traditional day on which lovers in certain
cultures let each other know about their love, commonly
by sending Valentine's cards, which are often anonymous.
The history of Valentine's day can be traced back to
an obscure Catholic Church feast day, said to be in
honor of Saint Valentine. The day's associations with
romantic love arrived after the High Middle Ages, during
which the concept of romantic love was formulated.
February 14th is celebrated as a lovers' holiday today,
with the giving of candy, flowers, Valentine's Day card
and other gifts between couples in love, it originated
as a tribute to St. Valentine, a Catholic bishop.
St. Valentine was a priest near Rome, who in 270 AD
had been beheaded by Emperor Claudius. At that time
the Roman Emperor, Claudius II, had issued an edict
forbidding marriage. Claudius had determined that married
men made poor soldiers because they were emotionally
attached to their families. So he banned marriage from
his empire. Just before his execution, he asked for
pen and paper from his jailor, and signed a farewell
message to the jailer's daughter and signed it, "From
Your Valentine." He was stoned and beheaded on
February 24, 270 AD.
|Another valentine icon you may be wondering
about is Cupid (Latin cupido, "desire"). In
Roman mythology Cupid is the son of Venus, goddess of
love. His counterpart in Greek mythology is Eros, god
of love. Cupid is often said to be a mischievous boy who
goes around wounding both gods and humans with his arrows,
causing them to fall in love. The Romans believed white
roses grew where the tears of Venus fell, as she mourned
the loss of her beloved Adonis. Her son Cupid, while being
stung by a bee, shot arrows in the rose garden; the sting
of the arrows became thorns. Venus pricked her foot on
a thorn, and the droplets of blood dyed the roses red.
The rose is the symbol of love, of magic,
of hope, and of passion, perfect to let your loved one
know how you feel about him or her! The rose represents
ultimate beauty and perfection. It is the messenger
A dozen red roses remains the classic Valentine's Day
favorite (though chocolate may secretly be the more
cherished gift). However, many women report that they
adore roses in other colors just as much. There are
hundreds of colors to choose from. The choices are endless
and it's easier than ever to select a rose that is as
unique as your sweetheart.
Valentine's Day - with
its colorful cards, mouth-watering chocolates and silky
lingerie, gives material form to this spiritual value.
It is a moment for you to pause, to ignore the trivialities
of life--and to celebrate the selfish pleasure of being
worthy of someone's love and of having found someone
worthy of yours.
You love someone because he or she is a value--a selfish
value to you, as determined by your standards--just
as you are a value to him or her.
To love a person is selfish because it means that you
value that particular person, that he or she makes your
life better, that he or she is an intense source of
joy--to you. A "disinterested" love is a contradiction
in terms. One cannot be neutral to that which one values.
The time, effort and money you spend on behalf of someone
you love are not sacrifices, but actions taken because
his or her happiness is crucially important to your
own. Such actions would constitute sacrifices only if
they were done for a stranger--or for an enemy. Those
who argue that love demands self-denial must hold the
bizarre belief that it makes no personal difference
whether your loved one is healthy or sick, feels pleasure
or pain, is alive or dead.
The nature of love places certain demands on those
who wish to enjoy it. You must regard yourself as worthy
of being loved. Those who expect to be loved, not because
they offer some positive value, but because they don't--i.e.,
those who demand love as altruistic duty--are parasites.
Someone who says "Love me just because I need it"
seeks an unearned spiritual value--in the same way that
a thief seeks unearned wealth.
To quote a famous line from The Fountainhead:
"To say 'I love you,' one must know first
how to say the 'I '"