St. Valentine’s Day is a complicated celebration that originated in honor of a Catholic Bishop who was beheaded by Roman Emperor Claudius II. Now, part of Pakistan has banned the holiday. President Mamnoon Hussain has said it is a western tradition and conflicts with Muslim culture despite the fact that it has been popular in the country.
Such is the luck of those feeling the need to express their love through cards, candy, flowers, and other gifts. It is a controversial holiday not only in Pakistan but among those who don’t know anything about St. Valentine and are convinced that the greeting card industry made the holiday up.
We don’t know much about this strange practice where people exchange cards and candy even in elementary school. It seems nobody knows much about St. Valentine.
Even the Catholic Church removed his name from the General Roman Calendar because so little is known of the man who would endure through a “holiday” that some blame on Hallmark and is represented by the exchange of cards, candy, flowers and gifts.
There are various stories as to why the Emperor sentenced St. Valentine to death. Some historians believe he tried to convert the Emperor to Christianity while others argue that he defied the Emperor by marrying couples to allow the men to avoid service in the war.
In either case, people who know the history of St. Valentine’s Day know that Chicago Gangsters ruined at the 1929 St. Valentine’s Day when Al Capone’s gang, posing as police officers, entered the rival gangs headquarters, run by George “Bugs” Moran, and killed seven men in what is known as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.
In order to avoid another “massacre”, the Oak Lawn Leaf is urging last minute shoppers to pick up a greeting card at the local Walgreens. If flowers are something that may ease the tension in the house because you watched the Blackhawks instead of went shopping, you may want to go to Mariano’s where you can buy a “premium dozen rose bouquet” for $20. Russell Stover Heartbox Chocolates are $8.99 at Jewel if you prefer a gift to both you and your loved one.
So, get out there and support those Oak Lawn stores and buy someone something for the holiday. If not, it may be time to move to Pakistan and call the holiday “decadent”. This week, the local government of Kohat, in Pakistan ordered police officers to stop shops from selling Valentine’s Day cards and items.
So, if you were recently in Pakistan, you may be able to use this as an excuse for coming home empty handed. Otherwise, get out there and get a card.