“Songs about love …
… because in the end, you know, what else is there to talk about?”
from “Canzone contro la paura” by Brunori Sas
It’s hard to find something original to say about love.
How many films have we seen, how many songs have we heard? Thousands of books, poems, tragedies on stage and in real life, messages hidden inside chocolates, paintings and sculptures, all centred on one common theme. Even bridges and their locks tell their own version of love stories.
Perhaps the concept of putting it in chains is not the best way of expressing love, neither is celebrating it once a year. John Paul Young used to sing “Love is in the air”, and we should try to breathe it in every single day, even when lovers aren’t protected by Saint Valentine’s day celebrations.
Michel Quoist once wrote:
Love is not already made,
It is made.
Love is not a ready-made garment,
But a piece of material to be cut, prepared and tailored.
It is not a flat ready for occupation,
But a house to be designed, built, furnished and often repaired.
It cannot be found at the supermarket, it’s not a bag of pre-washed salad, but an allotment to be cultivated, cared for and fertilized, with constancy and dedication.
It’s not a song that’s already been written for easy listening, but music to be written together, sometimes to be played in concerto, sometimes as a duet, sometimes as a solo for our own ears.
It’s not a film that’s already been seen, but a plot that develops every day, a screenplay that is written with each passing moment.
It’s not just Saint Valentine’s day, but 365 days a year.
We wish you a life of love all year round, not just on 14th February!
Saint Valentine’s day was historically preceded by the Lupercalia festival, celebrated in Ancient Rome on 15th February. Originally a rite of purification of the herd which then extended to the population, it was a festivity which included purification and rites to encourage symbolic fertility.
The ceremonies were carried out in front of the Lupercal cave at the foot of the Palatine hill in Rome, Italy, and were structured in two parts. The first was inside the cave and foresaw the sacrifice of a goat and a dog in honour of Lupercus, the ancient Roman god, whilst the Vestal Virgins prepared offerings of bread made from the first grain of the past harvest. The second rite involved two young adolescents (the Luperci) being anointed on the forehead with a knife bathed in the blood of the sacrificed animals. The animals were then skinned, and the Luperci donned the skins, from which leather thongs had also been crafted. The two youths then had to run around the Palatine, striking the ground and any women who “offered” themselves to be symbolically fertilized by the striking thongs.
In 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius I banned the pagan festival and replaced it with Saint Valentine’s day. Valentine was a bishop of Terni, Italy, and he professed the Christian faith during the persecutions of Christians by the Roman Empire. He not only converted a Roman philosopher to Christianity, but he celebrated the marriage of a young couple in love, going against the dictates of Emperor Claudius II, who had forbidden his soldiers to marry Christian women. For this reason, the bishop was executed on 14th February. In 496 Pope Gelasius honoured his sainthood, declaring the anniversary of his martyrdom the same date for celebrating his feast day, and his role as patron saint of all lovers.
( text Anna Tongiani )