The commercial feast of Valentine.

Dear Bloggers,

Happy Valentine's day daddy, that is what my kids are yelling to me this morning. Yeah right another "happy"day. I slowly wake up out of my half sleep mode, the weather is nice and it is snowing a bit.
Ah Valentine's Day. The first thing that comes to mind is a heart shaped box of cheap chocolates that should be directly applied ones hips. And then there is that sweet little cupid. He's an over weight angel aiming a bow and arrow at you to inspirer you to fall blissfully in love. I mean let's face it. Cupid's arrow is a weapon that literally and metaphorically could be the death of you. But all jokes aside. Do you even know why we actually celebrate Valentine's Day? I didn't think so.

In ancient Rome the date February 14th was a holiday to honor, the Roman Goddess of women and marriage. The next day was celebrated as the pagan Roman Feast of Lupercalia. During this time in Roman history young adults were strictly segregated by sex.

No surprise, it was 269 AD. Eventually they needed to give their hormones a chance to flourish. So it was customary on the eve of the feast of Lupercalia for young men and woman to be partnered for the feast by the men picking the girls names from a jar. Sometimes the pairing lasted for a year and with the young couples falling romantically in love and eventually marring. It was all very sexist in a provocative way. It sounds like a non commercial dating bureau in the ancient days.

Unfortunately this didn't last for long. This euphoric ritual of hormonal teenage partnering would come to an abrupt end during the tyrannical rule of Emperor Claudius II, also known as Claudius the cruel. Emperor Claudius had Rome fighting in many bloody and unpopular battles and was having grave difficulty recruiting soldiers to sustain his military forces. In his warped mind Claudius believed the reason he couldn't get soldiers was due to women. He convinced himself that the men's love of his family, wife or girlfriend prevented them from leaving there side and joining the military. It had nothing to do with the little matter that they didn't want to die a savage death for an Emperor they despised.

Fun loving Emperor Claudius proceeded to cancel all pending and future marriages and engagements in Rome. Claudius then made it a crime punishable by death to associate with Christians.

The legend says, no doubt a bit is polished up if it is not entirely fictional, has it that Valentine was stricken with the unbearable belief that many young souls would be destined to be sinners. So Valentine, a roman priest, married young lovers against Claudius' decree in secrecy. He was of course apprehended and condemned to death for his deeds. He suffered martyrdom on the 14th day of February, in either 269 AD or 270 AD. Nobody really knows what yearly exactly but they know the date was February 14th now known as Valentine's Day.


The Netherlands, duh! What you may not know for some unknown reason is that Valentine's day was not very famous during my childhood and still isn't. First signs of this feast was seen in the late fifties, as our country was still very pro American due to the help after the second world war. Although the thought was good it never became very populair. Also the roaring seventies did not bring the turn around. In the late eighties it finally was picked up by the commercial stations.In the nineties the internet was being spread into all living rooms and Holland was having a bit of money to spend. So Valentines day was getting a bit of character and the retail business was happy with their success.Until in 2009 the recession broke out and evryone was sitting on his or her money again, Valentine was scratched of the calendar again. The reputation of the greedy is really showing and the retailers keep on pushing it, especcially in the flower business. But the cheap population of our country compares the prizes with last week. If you are to expensive you can forget it.

Oh the Dutch are wonderful people as long it is for free or they can make profit out of it. They just about have their hands in everything good and pleasurable. The romantic patron saint of lovers who's feast day has become so commercialized it actually makes Christmas seem well, less commercial by comparison. In any event Board and any shopwindow you see the signs, if it didn't see the Euro signs next to it. That is the trouble if your Dutch, romance is beautiful but it has to be affordable.

The Old Sailor,


  1. romance is beautiful but it has to be affordable
    wat ik graag zoals theo maassen zou willen aanvullen met;
    'karakter is belangrijk, maor ge mot d'r ôk mee over straot kunne'

  2. We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a marvellous job!


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