February is the month we talk about love. Valentine’s Day is when we celebrate “eros”—the intimate, passionate love of two people. The stores will be full of red, heart-shaped cards, candy in fabric-lined boxes and dozens of real and fake roses.
St. Valentine, tradition says, was a third-century Roman priest arrested and martyred for aiding Christian couples persecuted by the Roman Emperor Claudius II. Since the Middle Ages we have celebrated “courtly” love on his feast day, February 14th.
I don’t oppose the idea of the holiday—celebrating love. But I have mixed feelings about its practice. As a child in grade school, I remember happily decorating a shoebox with red construction paper and pink hearts. I remember buying packages of Valentine cards and saving my allowance to purchase boxes of conversation-hearts candies to include with the cards for my favorite friends.