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February 15, 1976 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1976-02-15

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Sunday, February 15, 1976

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Five

-a..F ..iv

PERSPECTI

VE

Valentine's ay: Old custom

runs amok

By ELAINE FLETCHER or have bad memories from the
'S A DAY dedicated to Eros' past. Some are just too busy
[T' d DAY decad o. Er, or object to it. But whatever
the god of sexual love. Per- the cause, Valentine's Day only
haps because it ranks higher brings to mind fourth grade and
than Groundhog Day in an oth- heart-covered shoe boxes.
erwise dull holiday month, or "It used to be the worst time
perhaps because of greeting of year for me because nobody,
cards, Valentine's Day draws ever gave me a valentine," re-
people out of the winter dol- members one such person,
drums. who'd rather see the whole prac-
Yet despite candy, cards, and time junked.
our seemingly active interest in "It's worse than Christmas,"
the "softer sentiments," Valen- complains another, "because it
tine's Day never made it as a has no tradition behind it-it's
big-time holiday event, solely supported by commercial
"I'd still give my girlfriend interests."
a card, but it's not like when But although Valentine's Day
I was younger," remarks one has lately been perpetuated al-
young Valentine's Day observer. most totally by Hallmark and
"I used to run around seeing flower shops, it is steeped in a
how many valentines I could tradition that dates back to the
collect-now if I get more than time long before the idea of
one I'm in trouble." Christmas ever existed.
Some send flowers, candied
hearts, and their love a la Hall- THE ANCIENT ROMANS be-
mark. They write mushy poetry gan it all with a spring love-
and cling adoringly to their ov- fest, called Lupercalia, held just
ers. Others retain the holiday's one day later than now-Feb. 15.'
form but not quite the same As part of the ceremonies, two'
sentiment. "Sure I got a valen- noblemen's sons would be chos-
tine for someone," remarks one en from the eligible bachelors
woman, "I stole it - how could
you not steal something like
that?" _

of the town, to run about near- young couples were wed. It was
ly naked carrying long goatskin a people-centered holiday among'
whips and lash at all the young a sea of saint and heaven-cen-'
women who came into their tered celebrations.
path. Although no one ever both-
ered to ask the women wheth- KEPT ALIVE in this manner,
er they in fact liked this prac- Valentine's Day was brought;
tice, they succumbed quite read- to the New World with the Euro-
ily to the chase because the pean immigrants. Somehow
strokes were supposed to make managing to slip past our Puri-
them more fertile, tan ancestors, it found a rather
In view of its background, it exploitive haven in Hallmark
is not too difficult to under- and the school system.
stand how this festival of love,
drinking, and dancing might "Valentine's Day? I don't
have sat on the consciences of think I've really thought about
the early church fathers. They it since fifth grade," comment-
christianized it along with all ed another student.
of the old pagan rituals dub- It was thanks to the fond sup-:
bing it with a martyr's name port of many a third or fifth'
- St. Valentine. They desig- grader that Valentine's Day es-
nated the day for celebration, tablished itself with lacey cards:
then tried to forget about it. and candied hearts. Yet, the
Yet the people hung on to this occasion always makes some
day of love, perhaps because sweat. Schoolchildren, unsurel
of its lustiness or perhaps be- about these strange rites of love,
cause it was more fun than oth- often send out cards to every-'
er holy days. In the old Roman! one except the object of their'
colony of Britain, the ancient infatuation. Or they may skip
rites became the objects of half the class and give them
tamer games and dances, and only to those of the same sex.
Feb. 14 became a day on which ,'Some send cards but don't get

any back.
While teachers preside over
these relatively new and strange
customs, Hallmark has taken
the other last remnants of the

'Sure I got a valentine for someone.

I

the powers above. It has more
potential than Christmas for
true hedonistic celebrating-just
hours of eating, dringing, danc-
ing and love-making.

stole it - how could you not steal some-
thing like that?'
-'U' student

nosy ay d dc turned it into a But such a time will never
small but proper part of con- happen. Any real revitalization
temportry courtship. Valentine's of the old event would kick a
Day has become just a bottle last final breath from it. Mer-
of perfume, cigarette case or chants would offer coupons, po-
handkerchief from a convenient litical candidates would use the
admirer. day to campaign, the airlines
would come out with Valentine
STEEPED IN ALL the extrem- tour packages. Hallmark would
es of bad tradition from silly not like it.
sentimentalisms to Roman sex- We can't touch it without ex-
ual practices, Feb. 14 combines ploiting the concept even more
a bit of lore from all ages. than we have. And without re-
Although it was intended as a ligion to back Valentine's Day
day of loving, frivolous cele- up we're at a loss about how
bration, it is often seen as a!j to celebrate such a day. As a
cruel custom, particularly to result, Don Juans will continue
the lonely third-grader who re- to gloat over it, shy fourth
ceives nary a Valentine or the graders will sweat, nice young
older peon ho ha sno ler women will wax coy and mys-
with whom to share sentiments. terious - all the old symptoms
But, the day does retain some ' of "love."
saving graces. It's one of the
few holidays dedicated to peo- laine Fle/cher is a Daily
ple, sex, and fun - rather thanI s/aff writer and night editor.

.., .. __ . _ . _ ._ _ T_
i

Minority
Affirmative Action

.......-"' ....rr"'"

II- ________

ii;

ii
ij
,,

WOMEN'S STUDIES-

NOT EVERYONE chooses to
celebrate the day howevver.
Martha
Tradlitions
die sloWly;
(Continued from Page 3)
a fur coat - and nothing else.
But, to Vivian Jones, head of
the dorm's housekeeping -staff,
there's only one kind of wo-
man that lives in Martha Cook
-- "upperclass." And Jones
says she likes that. She's work-
ed there for 25 years now and
says, "If the dorm were to
loosen up its rules, it would
lose some of its prestige."
After,-a year or two at Mar-
tha Cook some women flee the
dorm's security. Loran Cutsing-.
er, 21, moved into a co-op last
year when she decided Martha
Cook was too sheltered.
Junior Mary Cybulski, 20, de-
cided Cookies were too wrapped
up indating and not enough
concerned with the outside
world. She also went off to a
co-op, with the parting remark,
"I can small-talk better with
my grandmother's friends now."
"There's a certain class to
this place," comments another
resident. "It becomes part of_
you."
SHE APPRECIATES the same
things other Cook residents
have appreciated over the
years - garden terrace, the
giant magnolias, the plush bro-
caded chairs, and the quiet, re-
fined, yet sometimes zany at-
mosphere.,
WhenrHuebner was honored
by the academic society Phi
Kappa Phi in 1935, her Martha
Cook friends told her to hide
the society's key if she wanted
to get rnarried.
Last year the Martha Cook
women staged an elaborate
wedding reception in the Red
Room. They baked and care-
fully decorated a two-foot tall,
four-foot wide wedding cake.
They put on their best dresses
and invited their male .escorts
to put on their best suits.
Only two things were miss-
ing from the proper recet ion
-a bride and a groom. There;
was no wedding; only a crazy
party.
The Cookies of 1935 would
have been shocked.

A MAJOR MEETING
Introducing the WOMEN'S STUDY PROGRAM
Its opportunities and its students
WE'LL BE DISCUSSING
WHAT'S A WOMEN'S STUDIES MAJOR?
WOMEN'S STUDIES FOR THE NON MAJOR
WOMEN'S STUDIES-STUDENT POINTS OF VIEW
IT'S YOUR PROGRAM. FUTURE PLANS AND GOALS

i : !
'
'

in
Co-Operatives
" MEMBER-CONTROLLED
r FRIENDLY ATMOSPHERE
0 LOW COST
Think about us for next
FALL-WINTER
For more information, call
662-4414
or come to the
INTER-COOPERATIVE
COUNCIL OFFICE
rm. 4002 Mich. Union

I

WE'LL GET TOGETHER
TUESDAY, Feb. 17, at 4:00 p.m.
at the UNION'S KUENZEL ROOM!
QUESTIONS Call the Women's Studies Pro-
gram, 763-2047, M-F 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. H

V~)T HE U NIVE RS ITY
ACTIVITIES CENTER (U A C)
seeking qualified people to fill
Senior Office positions for 1976-1977
9 President
9 Coordinating Vice-President
" Public Relations Vice-President
e Chief Financial Officer
Please stop by UAC
2nd floor, Michigan Union
for an application
Deadline for Application is Feb. 20th

(9

IM

THIS WEEK AT:

Dailv Photo by STEVE KAGAN
A clerk at Wild's Men's Shop holds up some valentine's underwear
Fun and Money-Join The Daily

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