Contradiction in Terms
You say to-may-toe; I say toh-mah-tah. Deal with it.
Sunday, February 15, 2004

Today is VALENTINE'S DAY, which you probably know. It's also SAGE'S BIRTHDAY, and the second annual international QUIRKYALONE day. 'Quirkyalones' are defined as "romantics who resist the tyranny of coupledom". So there.

in the news today
Who the heck knows? I'm too exhausted from trying to keep up with a two-year-old all day to find out. Sagey turned two today, and as promised, she was allowed to do anything she wanted, with her parents as helpless putty in her hands. So my Valentine's Day post is coming in many minutes after midnight, because she just now got to sleep. Dean and I gave her a little inflatable playhouse, which she adored... and which she insisted we also had to enter! We'll see how she likes having parents in back braces... She also got a little portable dollhouse, which honestly I think her parents enjoyed more than she did. (But it's sooo cute, and has teeny-weeny little furniture you can arrange and rearrange... Oh, never mind.) She's also getting a Blue's Clues stuffed toy, but she was so enchanted by her playhouse we decided to save Blue for later.

Valentine's traditions and superstitions
1. In the Middle Ages, young men and women in Europe would draw names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would then wear these names on their sleeves for one week, thus giving rise to the well-known saying. You know the one I mean, right?

2. It was believed in earlier times that if a young woman saw a robin flying overhead on Valentine's Day, it meant she would marry a sailor. If she saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man, but be very happy. If she saw a goldfinch, she would marry a millionaire. Apparently, her happiness when married to either sailor or millionaire was not in question.

3. The Italian city of Verona receives about a thousand letters addressed to Shakespeare's Juliet on Valentine's Day every year.

4. In ancient times, a brave and curious young girl could conjure up the appearance of her future spouse by going to a graveyard on St. Valentine's Eve at midnight. She would then have to sing a prescribed chant and run around the church twelve times. This was probably worth it to avoid the consequences of the other belief of the time, which is that she would-- whether she liked it or not-- eventually marry the first eligible male she happened to meet on Valentine's Day.

What happens when you tie a piece of styrofoam underneath a goldfish's chin?

answer to yesterday's question
Valentine's Day has its origins in Ancient Rome, where young women would celebrate the Feast of Lupercalia (in honor of Juno, queen of the Roman pantheon of gods) by writing love letters and sticking them in a large urn. The men would pick a letter from the urn and, for the next year, pursue the woman who wrote the chosen letter. This custom lasted until the 1700s, when people made the revolutionary decision that their beloveds should be chosen by sight, not luck.

In 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius declared February 14 a Church holiday in the name of St. Valentine-- although it's not clear which St. Valentine he had in mind, since the Catholic Church recognizes three of them, all of whom were martyred on February 14. The likeliest one, however, seems to be a 3rd-century priest who performed secret marriages when the Roman Emperor Claudius II thought single soldiers were more likely to enlist in the army. That St. Valentine was imprisoned and executed in 270 A.D. It is believed that he was responsible for giving the jailer's blind daughter back her eyesight; and before his execution, he sent her a note signed, "from your Valentine."

It wasn't until 1537 that St. Valentine's day was declared an official holiday. This was proclaimed by King Henry VIII of England, who probably did it because he was having trouble remembering all his wives' birthdays by then. It has remained a widely-celebrated holiday since, even though Pope Paul VI officially removed it from the Church calendar back in 1969.

Congratulations to Charles and El, who obviously have their hearts in the right place! And it looks like I'm going to have to officially sanction a Creativity Award for the funniest answers... This one goes to Marco, for his contribution of gory goodness.
Nikki bit in at 1:00 AM :: ::
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