Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Redneck Cupid - 5x5" x 4.25",  Digital

It's the time of year when a multi-billion dollar industry's fancy turns to showering retail outlets with every shade of red, pink, and purple in celebration of that highly profitable notion, Love. 

The namesake of the second-largest card purchasing holiday of the year met with a much unhappier ending at the hands of the Roman Empire, but not before presumably sending the first Valentine in the form of a note to his jailer's daughter, whom he cured of blindness before his execution.

It begs one to ask, what the heck does the sacrifice of a saint have to do with the annual flurry of affectionate greetings hitting the postal service, as well as the consumption of over 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate? 

Well, we could go back a little further, before Christianity set out to absorb a number of pagan holidays, to a time during the month that would be February when the pastoral festival of Lupercalia was held to chase out the evil spirits and promote health and baby-making. 

The festival consisted of ritual sacrifices of goats and dogs, after which the neighborhood male youths would run through town's crowds with strips of the animals' skins. Women would deliberately stand in the way, as being whacked with the swinging pelts would ensure fertility and an easy childbirth.

Personally, I think we've advanced quite a bit with the card swap and bon-bon stuffing.

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