The History of Valentine’s Day and Antivalentinism
The HubMob topic of the week concerning love might have passed, but Valentine’s Day hasn’t, so I thought I would write this just in time; and it's my 50th article all in all on two profiles! How fitting.
For years, I’ve referred to myself as an Anti-Valentine, or the Anti-Valentine, assuming that it was just something I made up, and that I was the only one who felt the way I do. That changed when I happened across an article on Wikipedia. It wasn’t particularly well-written according to the site, with a warning above that stated “this article contains weasel words”, or a biased opinion on something. But the fact remains that the words ‘Anti-Valentine’, “antivalentinist” and ‘antivalentinism’ do exist.
I looked them up in the dictionary, and they weren't there, so I assume they must be neologisms, relatively new words or officially unrecognized or ignored phrases. But what was in the article covered the basics, and I agreed with them, and so I was intrigued. I would wholeheartedly support it, because after all, it’s my name!
With antivalentinism, there exist two groups of thinking, which can be mutually exclusive or co-exist. The one is an anticonsumerist view of Valentine’s Day, where people say that it is a “hallmark holiday”. I read an article by a local South African columnist named Barry Ronge recently, who expounded on this by saying, “Santa comes more than once a year”, referring to holidays including Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in particular.
Think about how much money we all spent over Christmas, and how we regret it now; all for one day? Is all the debt we’re in, and all the weight we’ve gained worth it for just one day, where ironically, some claim isn’t even the real date of Jesus’ birth, that it was invented by those who wanted to make a little money? If it is his birthday, why are we getting all the presents?
The same is true of Valentine’s Day. There are reportedly numerous St. Valentines that are honoured on this day, and all were Christian martyrs, among them Valentine of Terni, and Valentine of Rome, whom some claim were the same person. Others have asked what connection this has with love and modern depictions of Valentine’s Day, but there are no answers.
Why? Well, these events happened over seventeen hundred years ago, and the only excuse is the fabled Golden Legend of St. Valentine, who went against the Roman Emperor Claudius II’s wishes and secretly married young single men (to young single women of course!) when he wasn’t supposed to, as it was believed that married men did not make good soldiers. When Claudius found out, he had him arrested, thrown in jail, and on the evening before his execution, St. Valentine wrote the ‘first’ valentine, addressed to his beloved, possibly a blind girl who he had healed in the past. It allegedly read, “From your Valentine”.
It was only really in the nineteenth century though, that the modern reinvention of St. Valentine’s Day occurred, possibly becoming quite commonplace in England before becoming massively popular and subsequently commercialized in America, leading to what we now know today - handwritten cards and especially mass produced ones, flowers, chocolates, candy, stuffed animals, jewellery and traditional symbols like hearts, doves, Cupid, and love notes. Since the beginning of the new millennium, e-cards, love coupons or printable greeting cards are also used.
The second group of antivalentinists is the one where people critique romance, true love, and the confusion over them with lust and overactive hormones.
Antivalentinists, if they choose to, will celebrate alternative holidays like Singles Awareness Day (S.A.D., which has also been referred to as Single And Delighted) usually on the 14th of February, or St.Skeletor’s Day on the 15th, and some might send Anti-Valentine cards or Vinegar Valentines, exchange handmade gifts with their partner and spend time together without spending any money, and another might go shopping or partying with single friends.
"With antivalentinism, there exists two groups of thinking. The one is an anti-consumerist view of Valentine’s Day, and the second group of antivalentinists is the one where people critique romance, true love, and the confusion over them with lust and overactive hormones."
I share both sentiments expressed above. I haven’t ever been in love, and I don’t believe in it either. How can I ‘believe’, after all I’ve been exposed to in my life so far? I’m also a rational person who thinks with his head and not his heart - because you can’t, not logically. I have chiefly known two emotions in my life - fear and hatred, and I've been on the giving and receiving end of both.
I’ve learned my lessons, and it seems that I cannot expose myself and become weak to another person who would in turn exploit that weakness. I know when people are trying to use me, make me look foolish, and when they don’t need me anymore. I’ve been through it with people before, and that’s why I am the way I am - a dyed in the wool cynic, and a misanthropist.
Perhaps I’m selfish, but I consider myself to be too damn smart to make a critical mistake like that, especially now when I know the eventual, inevitable, undeniable outcome. And that doesn’t just go for intimate relationships, but any sort of relationship or friendship. I know how close to let someone come and how far to hold them back.
Some, especially famous celebrities (with way too much free time, alcohol, drugs, and lack of inhibition), claim that love is all in the mind, and that we as human beings are not intentionally monogamous. After all, one would expect the likes of them to become numb or immune - they’ve been through it a lot, and what’s more, they’re trained actors, some in the art of the affectation of affection. According to the tabloids, so many of them have affairs, even when married. They say that casual sex with no strings is the best. I’ll go along with that; I’m a male for one, and you can’t be single and celibate, at least not for long.
I’ve heard a few phrases from some sources, like Jerry Springer (not that I watch his show; hey, he’s a respectable lawyer and former mayor of Cincinnati, even if his TV show or his guests aren’t), saying that: “The only way to avoid getting hurt, is to never fall in love in the first place, but that is a sad and lonely way to live.”
Or Woody Allen: “To love is to suffer”, or a local journalist expanding on that phrase: “To love is to suffer, to not love is to suffer, to suffer is to suffer.”
“Romance is dead - it was acquired in a hostile takeover by Hallmark and Disney, homogenized, and sold off piece by piece.”— Lisa Simpson
What do you think of love and how companies exploit it?
© 2009 Anti-Valentine