Mai and I celebrated Valentine Day just like everyone else in the U.S. Even though it rained hard in the Bay Area, we had a very good time. Dim sum lunch with our son, aunts and cousins in San Jose; a night out meeting and greeting new friends, five course dinner, singing (by professionals including two of our cousins – not us), and dancing.

The next day, Sunday, we got together with Titi , daughter of an old friend, in San Francisco.

THANK YOU TITI FOR SPENDING YOUR PRECIOUS                                         TIME BEING WITH US

Having lunch at the Slanted Door – on the fancy menu, the one item we liked best (surprise, surprise) was “pho”, very simple with just some choice meat, large noodle and its exceptionally tasty juice. The combination just made you want to eat more, especially when it rained outside the window.

On February 14, a Roman emperor executed a Christian martyr named Valentine. Incredibly, he executed another martyr, a few years later, also named Valentine and also on February 14. That explains February 14 the St. Valentine Day.

But how and whose idea was that to transform a gruesome day like that into a day of romance and love?

Before the Christian tradition of celebrating St. Valentine Day on February 14, the ancient Romans had celebrated something called the Feast of Lupercalia on February 15. It was an occasion for men (Roman men) to get drunk and run around naked doing crazy things like killing dogs and used their hides to whip women. Believe it or not, women (Roman women) were just all too willing to be accommodating: they got in line to take turn for the men to hit them so that they would be more fertile. The Catholic Church conveniently combined both events into one Valentine Day, and naturally February 14 was chosen.

But, that was not romance.

We can’t help suspecting that commercialism may have something to do with the tremendous success of romanticizing Valentine Day.

Regardless, the Church may commemorate the martyrs on this day, but the mass, Catholics and pagans alike, just want to have a good time. And while doing it, we contribute hugely to the economy.

What a beautiful day!

JOHN P. LE PHONG, ESQ.                                                                                    Corona, CA Feb. 20, 2019

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