15 February 2010

Valentines, Presidents, and Beads, Oh My!

With a triple threat of holiday cheer to choose from this extra long weekend, which shall we choose?

Yesterday, scores of candy hearts, nougat centered chocolates and paper hearts changed hands in celebration of the horrific deaths of the martyrs; Valentine of Rome, Valentine of Terni and Valentine of Africa. Somehow I’m losing the romance in there somewhere.

Perhaps we should go with the happier legend of Father Valentine who secretly performed marriages for the young men under Roman Emperor Claudius II after the emperor declared all young men remain single in order to produce better soldiers. Of course, when Claudius found out he had Valentine arrested and executed, but not before Hallmark legend has the doomed priest write the very first valentine to his beloved. Yeah, still not seeing it. But hey, chocolate is chocolate.

At least President’s Day is clearer. Well, unless of course in your neck of the woods the event calendar says Presidents Day or Presidents’ Day. In Massachusetts you’re celebrating “Washington’s Birthday”, while Virginia officially celebrates “George Washington Day”. Parts of the Midwest have rolled out the rug for “Washington and Lincoln’s Day”, and not to be outdone, Alabama chose “Washington and Jefferson Day”. Hmm, well whatever you call it, the sales are great!

So then Mardi Gras is the keeper. Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday, the last day of revelry before Ash Wednesday and the fasting of Lent. Carnival starts after Epiphany, and throughout the world spans the season from Epiphany to Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday” but is used to cover the entire celebratory three days, (week, or two weeks depending on where you are). Despite being both the last day and the entire celebration, Mardi Gras garners no confusion. It is a time to cut loose, to blow off steam, to get in a last hoorah, and to party like tomorrow god is watching.

You may dread the Hallmark Holiday of hearts and flowers and the pressure to be both coupled and the perfect couple. You might have no idea which president you’re celebrating or why you feel the need to buy that over-priced blender just because it’s 25% off. But even if you can’t pronounce Mardi Gras, let alone explain what a King Cake is to your friends; we can all relax, kick back, act up, and let loose while the letting is good.

I hope you enjoyed yesterday. May those of you still off work enjoy today. And may we all get a chance to flash a stranger and get some beads…metaphorically speaking anyway. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Holiday Ramble Done

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