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  • Troll ahead (Score:3, Insightful)

    I'm happy for you and all, but, uh, it's just odd to read in one of your journal entries, at the same time, a reference to your protestant faith, and a reference to a 100% roman catholic celebration (the day dedicated to St Valentine, saint of lovers). ;-)
    • by jdavidb (1361) on 2003.02.17 10:27 (#17155) Homepage Journal

      I didn't consider that to be a troll at all. On the contrary, I thank you for your candor.

      In the U.S., it's more and more common for Protestants to observe the Catholic holidays, either secularly or, increasingly, religiously. The Puritans and Separatists who formed the earliest New England colonies banned all of those holidays, but it didn't take. Nowadays, I even hear of Protestants observing Lent (which frustrates me to no end because of Colossians chapter 2).

      As pointed out rather humorously in another post, these traditionally religious holidays have a serious secular/commercial aspect. Even areligious people are known to observe Christmas, Easter, etc. From the point of view over here, Valentine's Day would be one of the least religious of all. Every schoolchild in America, it seems, makes a Valentine's Day mailbox out of a white paper bag and gives a Valentine's Day card (sold in boxes of 50 or so and usually themed with popular cartoon characters; I told you it was commercialized) to every member of their class.

      Most Protestants here observe the holidays to some extent. Ironically, though, my family heritage is one of the few that does not do so. My grandparents are quite focused on the pagan origins of these holidays, and do not observe them as all. My father had our family observe them to some extent as a purely secular holiday, and I have wavered between not celebrating or celebrating as a secular holiday. (Hmm... the phrase "secular holiday" may sound confusing to you, given the etymology of "holiday" => "holy day.") That said, I always appreciate a day off work and am quite happy to celebrate it as family time. Valentine's Day, as I said, has next to no religious overtones at all here. Incidentally, I was in the fifth grade before I knew Easter was about the resurrection of Christ. We commemorate the death, burial, and resurrection on the first day of every week.

      I appreciate you making your comment because one of my prime considerations in choosing my level of involvement in a holiday is "what impression am I giving?" If I give the impression this holiday is a religious observance for me, I would rather not do it. (You won't find many in the U.S. of any faith who feel that way, though.)

      Of course, a little research shows Valentine's Day, like most religious holidays, began as a pagan festival, so you might not want to call it 100% Roman Catholic. :) Originally that was the day when young Roman boys and girls "paired up" for the year. From what I read, it seems inferred that this pairing up included sexual activity. Hardly sounds Catholic, Protestant, or Christian to me.

      Incidentally, as a member of the church of Christ [], I could be considered something of a Protestant against the Protestants [], as I do not accept many of their religious teachings any more than Catholicism. I guess I'm just a protest cat. :)

      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
      • Thanks for your comments ! In fact it appears that I made a mistake : I didn't know that Valentine's day was a holiday in the US. It isn't in France, where nothing distinguishes the day of St Valentine from, say, the day of St Raphael (except that St Raphael isn't the saint of lovers). Hence, the implications are different : Valentine's day has no more (and no less) religious meaning than the average day of the year, and this meaning is strictly bound to the worshipping of saints (hence my remark about the
        • Glad you enjoyed the info. I figured you would find some of it interesting. I hadn't realized Valentine's Day wasn't elevated beyond an ordinary Saint's Day outside of the U.S. :)

          To sum up, the religious implications of holidays are tremendously variable here.

          The fact that many pagan deities have evolved into catholic saints is what I like to call the embrace-and-extend strategy of the church.

          lol, I was worried about saying anything quite that strong for fear of sounding like an anti-Catholic trol

          J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers