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Indian Kitchen By Veena
-- Veena Bhavanam

Valentine's Day

05 Feb 02

Hello Everybody,

I am sure that everybody are aware, February 14th is valentine’s day. I am not sure how many people know the history of Valentine’s Day. I did not know why its being celebrated or what’s the story behind it till I did little research and found out few things about Valentine’s Day. I would like to share the same with you all.

There are three different version behind Valentine’s day and they are Roman Valentine’s day, Christian valentine’s day and European valentine’s day.

Roman History

In Rome, Valentine's Day celebration dates back to the ancient times when the 'Feast of Lupercal' was celebrated in the honor of the Roman God of Fertility. This day falls on the 15th of February every year. According to this, on the eve of Lupercalia (14th of Feb) a ritual of 'name drawing' was followed, during which a young man drew the name of a girl from the lot, who was to be his sweetheart for the whole year. Since then, this day (14th of Feb) has been considered as the day of Cupid, the mischievous son of Venus -the Roman Goddess of Love. Lovers through the ages have taken this day as their own - a day to celebrate the finest human emotion. The reason for celebration is ageless, but it was much later that a great lover gave the day his name.

Christian History

In 270 A.D. Emperor Claudius had issued an edict forbidding marriage because he believed that married men made poor soldiers, not wanting to leave their families to go to battle. St.Valentine, bishop of Interamna, disagreed with the emperor and invited young lovers to come to him in secret to be married. When Claudius found that he was performing secret marriage ceremonies, he was incensed. He had Valentine seized and brought before him. When Valentine refused to change his views and renounce Christianity, he was put in prison to await execution. Tradition tells that while Valentine was in prison he corresponded with those under his care by sending little letters and love notes to those in his parish. It is also believed that while he was in prison the bishop fell in love with the blind daughter of the jailer, Asterius and that God enabled him to miraculously restore her sight. Tradition tells that his farewell message to her contained a closing that transcended time: “From Your Valentine”, a famous phrase, which is written on cards even today.

European History

As time went on and Christianity gained popularity, the priests attempted to do away with pagan traditions by substituting Christian holidays on the same day. The feast of Lupcalia was adjusted to fit Christian beliefs. Instead of drawing the names of girls and boys, the names in the vase or box were those of saints. It was expected that those who drew the names would attempt to emulate the life of the chosen saint.

During the Middle Ages, tradition was for men and women to exchange hand made cards on St. Valentine's Day. These cards were elaborately decorated and contained love dedications and even proposals of marriage. There were never signed, as this was considered bad luck, and thus the tradition of the "secret admirer".

In the 14th Century the tradition reverted back to drawing girls names. The church made an attempt to reverse that trend in the 16th Century but to no avail and tradition continued in England and other European countries.

During the Victorian Period, love divination games were a very popular part of St. Valentine's Day. In one game the names of favorite persons were written on a piece of paper, which was then sealed in clay. The pieces of clay were then dropped into a bowl of water and the first to rise contained the name of your sweetheart or "Valentine". It was traditional to then send a gift to your Valentine.

Flowers for Valentine's Day are also a European tradition. It was believed that the red colored crocus had the power to attract attention of a lover. The flowers were most effective in attracting your new partner when worn in a red dress.

The tradition continues today, with exchange of tokens of love and cards with romantic messages. The power of love goes on and on! Help keep the tradition alive this February 14th!! If you love someone, show them that you love him or her!!


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