Monday, February 14, 2011

mon amour, mon ami

When you cherish others, all your wishes are fulfilled

Lama Zopa Rinpoche (b. 1946) teacher

we have always been pretty low-key about valentines day at casa mouse. not that we ignore it completely but we certainly don't buy into to all the hype about the holiday. yesterday I came across an article which reported that the average american man spends over $150 on the holiday; the average woman $75. yikes! seems ridiculous to me, but then again, to each their own.

my nonfiction read these days is the book of the heart (2003) by louisa young. although I'm still only in "chamber 1" (part 1) of the book - the anatomical heart, I skipped ahead to the fourth chamber, to learn what the books says about valentines day. among the interesting bits I found:

St Valentine....was a Roman priest who was beaten and beheaded in the third century, and he is the patron of lovers merely because of a coincidence of timing. His feast day coincided with the Roman festival of Lupercalia, during which young girls' names were written down and put in a box to be ceremonially drawn by young men during a month long series of feasts in honor of Pan - god of chaos and wine- and Juno - goddess of marriage. The combination was a potent one. The early Fathers tried to put an end to such pagan fun; as usual rather than ending, the habits and frolics merely adjusted a little and took on a Christian front, including the Christian symbol of love - the speared heart- which so neatly fit with the classical symbol of love- Cupid with his careless arrows. (pp. 292-3)

a bit further on is wonderful illustration of a "poilu" -a french soldier in ww I -sending his sweetie good luck - a ladybug for prosperity, a horseshoe for fidelity, a four leaf clover as a love charm, a pansy for remembrance, a white rat for mad love, and a louse for happiness. all of the symbols radiate from a pierced heart. the book sources the image as coming from the wellcome library in london because of the magic of the internet (yeah, I know its not magic) I found the postcard in color and you don't have to depend on my lousy snap of the page in the book! (don't forget if you click on image it will enlarge!)

unfortunately the book fails to explain the origin of these symbols - why a louse for happiness? and why a white rat for mad love? this curious mouse would love to know - anyone want to take this on?

the mouse sends loving wishes to all of you today and in all the days to come!

as there seems to be a bit of a french flavor to today's post and paris is the city of love, I offer as today's tune this beautiful song from french chanteuse and actress marie laforêt singing mon amour, mon ami - who in this mouse's humble opinion is even more beautiful than the song!

photos: heinens, sugar cookies. february 2011


California Girl said...

Bummer story about St. Valentine. Kinda takes away the romance, doesn't it?

A louse? That is not gonna make me happy.

happy Valentine's day to you dear mouse.

karen said...

This is the second time I've heard mention of The Book of the Heart...checking my library for that after I leave here.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Kate Hanley said...

When I met my husband, I told him he was not allowed to buy flowers for me for Valentine's Day because they are so overpriced. For my kids, I end up getting them books and chocolates but maybe next year I'll send a louse! Oh, great song!

Merle Sneed said...

I spent $15 on Valentines Day for the Mrs. and she spent nothing. Seems about right to me, although she chastised me for spending the fifteen.

Megan said...

I agree the spending can get out of hand...and yet...I saw a lot of full restaurants on my walk home last night, and that's a good thing for all who work in them. :)

Mouse, I have missed so many posts over here! Looking forward to catching up. After I stop drooling over these cookies.

Betty said...

We just exchange cards (and a kiss!) Those cookies look lovely - did you make them?

I'm puzzled by the louse, too. Really not a happy thing (unless you're another louse.)