It’s Valentine’s Day, Cupids. And if you’re like me, it’s Ash Wednesday, Catholics (and members of some other Protestant denominations).
Quick background: Ash Wednesday begins Lent. It symbolizes those 40 days that Jesus prayed in the desert, felt tempted by Satan but ignored Satan to live his best life.
Catholics (and other Christians) often give up something we love to practice restraint, self-reflect and try to ignore temptation to live our best lives. So on Ash Wednesday (and each Friday until Easter), many of us don’t eat between meals and avoid frivolous things like chocolate, meat and other guilty pleasures. (Fun fact: some Catholics do this every Friday, all year.)
Valentine’s Day is the feast day of St. Valentine, the patron saint of couples, those who faint and ... beekeepers (thanks, catholic.org). It’s often celebrated with chocolates, roses and steak dinners.
Not today, Satan.
OK, so you can’t buy me chocolate for Valentine’s Day. I get it. That doesn’t mean you can’t buy me a dozen roses. Or a gold necklace. Or a Lamborghini. The Vatican specifically says we abstain from meat and snacks on Ash Wednesday. It does not say we abstain from Lamborghinis.
We don’t eat poultry, beef, pork or venison on Ash Wednesday, but you could still buy me a lobster dinner.
I know: I’m missing the entire point. Lobster dinners and Lamborghinis, while not chocolate or meat, are still *kind of* frivolous and *maybe* should be avoided.
This is all why “Ash-entine’s Day” was made for the single Catholic like me. This one year, I don’t have to feel bummed at all the happy couples on social media. I don’t have to squirm when someone asks my plans. For one day, my mom doesn’t have to give me a sympathetic “you poor thing” look, or remind me, “you’re just focusing on your career right now,” while she actually cries inside at her lack of grandchildren.
By abstaining from Valentine’s Day pleasures, like chocolates and gifts, I’m just doing the good Catholic thing, starting my Lenten season off right with few to no frivolous gifts or pleasures. Plus, that leaves plenty of Valentine’s chocolate at day-after-Valentine’s-Day prices.
Maybe I’ll keep the trend going and tell my mother I’ve given up my love life for Lent.