Eros is NOT the Reason for the Season

©Pierre et Gilles

©Pierre et Gilles

I really have to abandon the inertia I seem to have adopted toward removing myself from a certain e-mail list. This owner/s of the list in question, in spite of repeated issuance from members, including myself, of correct information that points out the Feast of Eros is a springtime festival —not mid-winter— still maintain a calendar that places the Feast of Eros as a replacement for St. Valentine’s Day.

While there is very little surviving information about the Feast in question, there is enough to place this as a springtime festival. Furthermore, there is nothing about Eros’ symbolism that is specific to winter, and plenty that makes a springtime festival seem more appropriate —the cockerel, the hare, eggs, birds, youth.

by Erte

by Erte

Furthermore, the ancient, pre-Christian origins of St Valentine’s Day are well established. Daidala (Attic: Gemalia), the wedding of Hera and Zeus is traditionally held around the time of mid-February. Rome’s Lupercalia, celebrating the bitch wolf that suckled Romulus and Remus. Eros has nothing to do with either day. I’ve explained this at great length before. Yet the pinhead/s in charge of that list still insist “it’s a modern syncretism in line with the ancient practice”.

What ancient practice? There is NO “ancient practice” that can easily link Eros with any mid-February festivals, and the “love” portrayed in the Catholic St Valentine mythology was closer to agape than eros. The “love” we see in the Lupercalia mythos is compassionate, not erotic.

"Winter" by Erte

“Winter” by Erte

The union of Zeus and Hera, even as per the mythology, was one less of passion than of politics.

That said, I acknowledge that people are going to do whatever they want to, anyway, no matter what makes sense or not. Oh well. If you want to celebrate Eros on 14 February, have fun with that. On the other hand, when you call it “The Feast of Eros” you are inviting confusion with the ancient festival. When you insist that “it’s a modern syncretism”, you not only demonstrate a misunderstanding of what syncretism actually is, you demonstrate a gross misunderstanding of the ancient calendars.

I’m willing to make a post like this every fucking year, so that people who are genuinely interested in the ancient practice can learn that this idea of a mid-winter “Feast of Eros” is just borderline eclectic nonsense based more on medieval softcore subversion of Christian mythology than on pre-Christian Græc


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