Nicholas Goodchild

Historic and Pared Down

Valentines Day

14 February 2012 by Nicholas in Current Events

Valentines Day is, as Warren Ellis will no doubt assure us, Horny Werewolf Day. Basically it dates back to a pagan festival that had some rather odd rituals to do with werewolves and has somehow gone through being a fertility ritual to become a nice, sanitised holiday where we celebrate romance and love.

Christmas, of course, is a celebration of the Winter Solstice. The fact that days will be getting lighter again and that the darkest days of winter are behind us. It’s partially a celebration of light and warmth. Before it got co opted by Christianity.

Both Bonfire Night and Halloween are festivals of light that fall at nearly the exact same point in the calendar. Mid way between the Vernal Equinox and the Winter Solstice, we celebrate light and warmth and try to keep demons at bay by burning effigies or lighting lanterns. Six weeks before Christmas. Which falls six weeks before Valentines Day.

Six weeks after Valentines Day is the pagan new year. Of course, we don’t celebrate that anymore because we use a Christian calendar. We call it April Fools’ day now in an effort to mock anyone who celebrates it for any other reason. That gives us approximately 4 celebrations that fall in six week cycles and seem to make sense when you view the calendar. April Fools’ day is also very close to the Spring Equinox. Probably new year and the Spring Equinox used to coincide on the old calendars.

From the Spring Equinox to May Day is roughly another six weeks. Easter dances about and can sometimes coincide with the Equinox, sometimes with April Fools and sometimes later still. Probably it is all related to the same festival and same space within the calendar though. If things were inexactly measured according to lunar cycles (as Easter is, oddly) then there is a reason for them to dance about on the calendar.

Between May Day and the Vernal Equinox there is only really the Summer Solstice that I am aware of, with Summer needing fewer celebrations and people working in the fields rather than staving off spirits in winter. Still, it makes for an interesting way to view the year rather than simply viewing them all as one off celebrations with no pattern.

So, happy horny werewolf day to everyone, an enjoy your sanitised holiday that seems to owe its existence to the passing of the seasons, perhaps on a lunar calendar, and definitely to pagan rituals.