the feast of saint valentine, esq.
The only thing that's truly known about St. Valentine is that he was a martyr, and that he died horribly. He might've been a priest, or a bishop, a hermit, or an African (gasp!) The feast of St. Valentine may actually celebrate more than one saint. Nobody knows for sure. He/they may have died up to three times.
The original iteration of the holiday was probably a Christian attempt to supercede a hot little nudity-and-S&M-laced Greek festival (with a lot of blood involved) about sucking on the tits of wolves.
The feast was removed from the official Roman Catholic calendar in 1969, of course. With all the world's juices flowing, the Catholics had to shut 'er down.
Thing is, St. Valentine had not much to do with anything. 'Hallmark holiday' is an overused phrase - and this is the classic application - but it's giggle-worthy to think how slapped-on this one is. The only reasoning I can come up with for the lip-biterly assignation of carnal pleasure to this maybe-one-of-three-African-martyrs-or-a-Roman-hermit Church holiday is that...gee, let's face it...the letter V is pretty sexy. It's the opposite of the letter capital-I.
It's why the world loves Valentino Rossi, and vigilantes, and Vivica Fox (I mean, really) and vasectomies. It's why they call it Vaseline and Viagra and a vibrator. It's why we buy that she falls for the lumpy, crazy, sadistic burn victim in V for Vendetta. V is a powerful muscular push to openness. V is a bud that opens to the warmth of the sun. People need a reason to celebrate that kind of thing, because people ignore that it's a muscle you have to use. People spend a lot of money to prove that they know how to respond to that impulse.
Y'know what the best way to celebrate Valentines' Day is? Wait for sundown, 'cause that helps you appreciate mystery that much better. Open champagne. Watch 'Strictly Ballroom' all the way through to the end, where they've just discovered that human love and attraction is the coming-together of a million inexplicable variables and boom! there it is and they win the contest because their variables added up to a perfectly balanced emotional orgasm and 'Love Is In The Air' starts to play right before the credits roll and the old people who used to dig each other but were fighting reach out to each other because the world is naturally healed in the space that these two people create because they chose each other. Then get naked, have sex and eat some chocolate. There's your holiday.