Transitioning Your Valentine's Day

The partner of a transgender woman explores the history of Valentine's Day.

So I am sitting in front of my computer contemplating the arrival of Valentine's Day and how so many people out there put so much emphasis on the day. Personally, my wife and I never go out on Valentine's Day. It is literally the worst day of the year to go out and eat at a restaurant. They are crowded, loud, and some have special menus that you have to order from. So you can't eat what you want, you have to eat what they already have mass-produced. It is a total scam. We would rather stay home with our kids, order in some of our favorite food so we can enjoy each other without the distraction of other people. I highly recommend it.

"SOMEHOW IN MY UPBRINGING I WAS MADE TO FEEL THAT VALENTINE'S DAY WAS ALL ABOUT ME, THE WOMAN IN THE RELATIONSHIP."

Somehow in my upbringing I was made to feel that Valentine's Day was all about me, the woman in the relationship. Society norms taught me that it was the one day of the year that the person that I was in an intimate relationship with would shower me with gifts, cards, candy, and flowers. I have actually heard stories of girls breaking up with their boyfriends for not doing the right thing on Valentine's Day. From the middle of January on, every TV commercial and newspaper advertisement is geared toward men buying the perfect gift. Talk about pressure. After my wife had come out to me as transgender it changed the way I thought about the day. It's not a day about me, but a day about us.

Haters of the holiday protest by saying that it was made up by the card companies just to profit their bottom line. So I decided to do some research into the history of Valentine's Day. Like everything else my brain wonders about, I just had to know where and when it all started. What I found was a little dark and very interesting, so I would like to share it with all of you. According to historians, the Ancient Romans of 300 BC celebrated the feast of Lupercalia from February 13th through the 15th. Meant to honor the coming of spring, they used the feast to increase their chances of fertility. The single women would put their name in jar. The eligible bachelors each chose a name, and the two would spend Lupercalia together. If it was a good match and the two were compatible, they would eventually marry. It kind of sounds like a dating game to me, but wait it gets better.

"I WONDER IF THIS IS WHERE THE TERM 'HITTING ON WOMEN' COMES FROM?"

The men would sacrifice a dog or a goat and dry out the hides. They then used the hides to whip the woman. Both the men and women thought that this practice was good luck and would increase their fertility. I wonder if this is where the term "hitting on women" comes from? It wasn't until the 5th century when the Catholic Pope Gelasius decided to do away with the pagan holiday and replace it with St. Valentine's Day. The same way they replaced all pagan holidays and rituals with their own. It is said that two men by the name Valentine were both put to death on February the 14th in different years during the 3rd century. As per the historians, they were both Catholic priests. One who disobeyed the emperor by performing marriages to young couples in love and the other who was in love with the jailer's daughter. On the night before his execution, it is said that Valentine wrote a love letter to the jailer's daughter and signed it, from your Valentine. I guess the Catholic Church decided it was better to celebrate them rather than fertility and love.

As time went on, the holiday became romanticized by poets like Chaucer and Shakespeare. People began making each other paper Valentine's every February the 14th. Eventually the tradition came here. With the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century came mass-produced cards and Valentine's Day has never been the same. The history of this day is bizarre to say the least, so why not make it your own. Every day of the year I love my wife with all my heart, not just when the calendar tells me to. Make your own traditions and show the people around you that you love them in your own way. Love in all forms can south your soul. It is the nourishment every human needs. Happy Valentine's Day to all.

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