Another Christmas has passed into history, leaving nothing but credit card bills and recycling in its wake. The big question is: why do we bother? As a race, do we revel in the sheer disappointment that comes with opening gifts which are (a) useless, (b) pointless, and (c) unwanted? Do we enjoy coping with family we desperately try to avoid contact with for the rest of the year? Do we like the stress of trying to cook a perfect meal after a whole damn year of eating nothing but microwave burgers and grilled eggs? No, the truth is that we put up with all the trappings of modern Christmas to celebrate its true meaning - the crucifixion of Santa Claus. On one cold Christmas Day, oh so many years ago, Santa was caught by a herd of unruly urchins in search of presents. He was then lynched and nailed to a crucifix that had hastily been constructed from lollipop sticks. A terrible event to be sure, but it reminds us of what is truly important in this life. And lo, we participate in the giving and receiving of gifts to continue the materialist dream.
While all the western world secretly knows the truth and true meaning of Christmas, the background to our next opportunity for contributing to the ailing economy is less well known. Why do we celebrate love on February the fourteenth?
The origins of Valentine’s Day go all the way back to the dawn of time and the invention of the chocolate
truffle. This tiny confectionery treat was created by cavemen who took time out between fighting dinosaurs
and mammoth hunts. Their discovery happened by pure fluke; the remains of a sabre tooth tiger were
being slow-roasted and the contents of this tiger’s stomach mixed in perfect amounts before being released
into a suitable receptacle.
To cut a long, fictional, story short, one caveman wanted the chocolate truffle for his sweetheart, but another caveman ate the truffle. The caveman who wanted the chocolate truffle for his love then killed the caveman who ate said confection and cut out his heart, giving that to his lady friend instead. While the relationship didn’t last, possibly because said lady wasn’t a huge fan of fresh, steaming offal, the ritual of giving a heart to your potential beloved did. Many years later, when the calendar was invented, this practise became formalised and adopted by modern taste-makers. As murder is generally frowned upon by modern society, it was decided the giving of chocolate would be a better option, symbolising the severance of a blood-dripping organ from your dying love rival’s chest.
But the historical reasons for the exchange of cards and flowers at this time are less gore-drenched; they were
simply made up to sell stuff. Flower-makers traditionally struggled to flog their wares through winter and many
hours of delicate stitching or gluing were wasted. Cards were also introduced to make a dent in the stockpiled
images of people hugging in black and white, pictures that were clogging up warehouses that could otherwise
be used to store pornography.
Not long after Valentine’s day passes we will come to Easter, which is much more of a moveable feast. Easter shifts like the grains of sand on a beach, going where it wants, when it wants. One Easter, although I won’t draw your attention to the specific date, was only celebrated in Ibiza at 03:32. At no other point in time or space was the concept even recognised that year and this was a very distressing experience for all concerned. For that one year, the sacrifice which forms the basis of our present-day Easter was ignored. I speak, of course, of all those baby rabbits that would be boiled inside the shells they were born in on Easter Day, before being distributed to nearby villages in order to make children cry. All that was forgotten and Easter was lost. The horror! The horror! Such is the inhumanity of man.
So, to all you cynics out there, think before you decide to opt out of a cultural celebration. Think of the
memories you are degrading, the history you are ignoring, the possibility you might not get another
chance. If, next year, the powers-that-be cancel Easter altogether, preventing families from torturing
unborn baby rabbits to death in the latest instance of political correctness gone mad, then you’ll be very
What’s that? You ask of Halloween? That, dear reader, is a story for another day. For when I’m late with my HDUK contribution, or simply haven’t got any other ideas.
Until then, happy whatever.