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Vasu Reddy from Chicago
Every February, across the country and the world, candy, flowers,
and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine.
The history of Valentine's Day -- and its patron saint -- is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.
History of Valentine’s Day
As early as the fourth century B.C., the Romans engaged in an
annual young man's rite to passage to the God Lupercus. The names of the
teenage women were placed in a box and drawn at random by adolescent men; thus,
a man was assigned a woman companion for the duration of the year, after which
another lottery was staged. After eight hundred years of this cruel practice,
the early church fathers sought to end this practice. They found an answer in
Valentine, a bishop who had been martyred some two hundred years earlier.
From Your Valentine
While Valentine was in prison awaiting his fate, he came in
contact with his jailor, Asterius. The jailor had a blind daughter. Asterius
requested him to heal his daughter. Through his faith he miraculously restored
the sight of Asterius' daughter. Just before his execution, he asked for a pen
and paper from his jailor, and signed a farewell message to her "From Your
Valentine," a phrase that lived ever after.
History of Cupid – God of Love
Cupid is the most famous of Valentine symbols and everybody knows that boy armed with bow and arrows, and piercing hearts. He is known as a mischievous, winged child armed with bow and arrows. The arrows signify desires and emotions of love, and Cupid aims those arrows at Gods and Humans, causing them to fall deeply in love. Cupid has always played a role in the celebrations of love and lovers. In ancient Greece he was known as Eros, the young son of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. To the Roman's he was Cupid, and his mother was Venus.
There is a very interesting story about Cupid and His mortal Bride Psyche in Roman mythology. Venus was jealous of the beauty of Psyche, and ordered Cupid to punish the mortal. But instead, Cupid fell deeply in love with her. He took her as his wife, but as a mortal she was forbidden to look at him.
Today, Cupid and his arrows have become the most popular of love signs, and two hearts pierced by an arrow, Cupid’s arrow, most frequently depict love.
Valentine’s in Modern Times
In Great Britain, Valentine's Day began to be popularly celebrated around the seventeenth century. By the middle of the eighteenth century, it was common for friends and lovers in all-social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. By the end of the century, printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one's feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine's Day greetings. Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began to sell the first mass-produced valentines in America.
According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas. Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines. In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia.
Although the Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the middle ages written Valentine's didn't begin to appear until after 1400, and the oldest known Valentine card is on display at the British Museum. Esther A. Howland created the first commercial Valentine’s Day greeting cards produced in the U.S. in the 1840s. Howland, known as the Mother of the Valentine, made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as "scrap".
Definitions of Love
1 a (1):
strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties <maternal
love for a child> (2): attraction based on sexual desire: affection and
tenderness felt by lovers (3): affection based on admiration, benevolence, or
common interests <love for his old schoolmates> b: an assurance of love
<give her my love>
Definitions of Valentine
sweetheart chosen or complimented on Saint Valentine's Day
I wish a very Happy Valentine’s Day to all our readers.
Research for this column is from the Internet.
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