One Year Of Photography by Howard Haby

11/365: Valentine’s Day

Classics professor Noel Lenski, of the University of Colorado, says this:  “The lovers’ holiday traces its roots to raucous annual Roman festivals where men stripped naked, grabbed goat- or dog-skin whips, and spanked young maidens in hopes of increasing their fertility.”  Well, Yeee-haw!! Those Romans sure knew how to party like a  pagan!!

Anyway, the holiday was called Lupercalia and it occurred annually on Feb. 15 and was wildly popular, as you can imagine, and so the ancient Christians decided to make it a Christian holiday. It happened like this: At some point, a Roman emperor needed men for his army and said (no doubt, with a Newfie accent), “Look by’s, ya can’t be gettin’ married right  now! I’m gonna start a ruckus, and I need every Tom, Dick and Harry I can muster together to help me out! So, marriage is now against the law!” Heads nod the affirmative all around.

Secretly though, they were getting married. I’m sure some poor soul looked around at the other soldiers and said, “I just let all my bits and pieces hang out in front of the world,  chased and spanked my woman with a goat-skin whip, and I’m sure her fertility has increased by at least 50%.  I can’t let that go to waste!”

But who was going to marry them? Enter St. Valentine. He performed the ceremonies in secret until he was found out and put to death in A.D. 270 on, you guessed it, Feb. 14.  So that’s pretty much how it all went down. Now a days we buy chocolate and flowers and send cards to the tune of about $15 billion in North America. Gone are the simpler days of the goat- and dog-skin whip, and naked men running around playing grab-ass.  Although, I’m sure we can all agree, it’s probably for the best.

Ok, so Happy Valentine’s Day to all the lovers out there, and to my friends and family. The photo below is to my lovely wife, Amy. She bought me this little wooden statue years ago, and I always keep it on my bedside table. It’s just a boy and a girl sharing a moment.  I’ve become very attached to it and it’s developed a lot of meaning  for me. Well, that’s it for today, thanks for dropping by.

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One response

  1. anna

    Hi howie love all the pics love the piece on Valentimes Day, haha, keep shooting photos.

    February 14, 2010 at 6:23 pm

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