Even though Valentine's Day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs, the day has long since lost any real religious significance. The Vatican deleted it from the calendar of Catholic saints in 1969.
Perhaps of that diminishing connection, Valentine's Day has become wildly popular in parts of the world you might not otherwise suspect. Asia, especially India and Japan, has embraced the trappings of the day ― the cards, flowers, hearts, chocolates, cupids, the celebration of love and friendship, the color red.
Valentine's Day is even becoming increasingly popular in Iran where, Reuters reports, it has become a big money maker for businesses. Reuters attributes the day's popularity to Iran's extreme youth ― 70 percent of the people are under 30 and have no memory of the 1979 Islamic revolution.
But Iran's leaders are nervous at the idea of the people being engaged in unauthorized merriment, not to mention the insidious threat of corrupting Western values posed by Valentine's Day.
Instructions sent to Iran's printing companies warned: "Printing and producing any products related to Valentine's Day, including posters, brochures, advertising cards, boxes with the symbols of hearts, half-hearts, red roses and any activities promoting this day are banned. Authorities will take legal action against those who ignore the ban."
Iran's rulers are a pinched and joyless lot, and it clearly never occurred to them that their young people might take it as an insult to their judgment and intelligence that they would be corrupted by frilly cards with pictures of cherubs.
Sometimes revolutions are not caused by grand, overarching issues but by accumulations of small, stupid stuff ― like this.
The article was published and distributed by Scripps Howard News Service (www.scrippsnews.com).