Feb 12, 2010

Valentine's Day - love or blood?

I've a new post on GlobalComment:

“If you really love her, send her roses,” the advertisements proclaim. “Diamonds are forever.” “Say it with flowers.” Woman waits to receive, whereas man hunts an appropriate gift to present. The entire posits woman as object and man as subject. Worldly retailers may supply cards for those who do not identify within the heterosexist paradigm and those in unconventional relationships, but the current Valentine’s Day mostly celebrates the rigidly traditional relationship.

Valentine’s Day is an odd day to celebrate in general, though. The saints that have been named Valentine have no connection to romantic love. The majority were martyred during the early Christian period. The origins of Valentine’s Day as a celebration of romantic love are obscure. In my opinion, there are two paradigms with regard to Valentine’s Day.

The first is that of romantic love which first appeared in Parlement of Foules by Chaucer, which celebrated the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia. Given that Chaucer served the king as a customs official and diplomat, it is possible that the links between Valentine’s Day and romantic love may have been a nod to his patron. Anne of Bohemia is known to have travelled extensively with King Richard, which might be an indicator of a strong bond between the couple, as it was unusual behaviour at the time.

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