Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Valentine's Day 2016

Roses are red, violets are blue, here’s our Valentine’s Day guide - especially for you.

Will you be my anti-Valentine?  Photo: NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images

So when is Valentine's Day this year?

This year Valentine’s Day - or St Valentine’s Day - falls on Sunday, February 14.
It’s a day when people show their love and affection for another person – usually in the form of cards, flowers, gifts and messages.
Who was St Valentine?
The details are sketchy. Some say St Valentine was a priest from Rome who lived in the third century AD. Emperor Claudius II had banned marriages, believing married men made bad soldiers and St Valentine is thought to have arranged marriages in secret. He was jailed and sentenced to death for his crimes.
In jail, St Valentine apparently fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and sent her a love letter signed ‘from your Valentine’ on February 14, the day of his execution, as a goodbye.

Is that really when it all started?

Some people believe the roots of the day stem from the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, dedicated to the god Lupercus. On this day young men would draw the name of a woman from a jar, and they would become a couple for the rest of the festival.
In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear the name of the person on their sleeves - hence the expression "to wear your heart on your sleeve".
Incidentally, the X symbol has come to mean a kiss because in medieval times most people couldn't write their names so they signed cards with an X and kissed it.
Over the years, February 14 became more popular and was romanticised by the likes of Chaucer and later Shakespeare.
In 1537, England's King Henry VII officially declared the day St Valentine's Day.
There is so much confusion around who St Valentine was that the Catholic Church stopped liturgical veneration of him in 1969, although his name remains on its list of officially recognised saints.

What's Cupid got to do with it all?

Cupid is just one of the ancient symbols associated with St Valentine’s Day – along with the shape of a heart, doves, and the colours red and pink.
He is usually portrayed as a small winged figure with a bow and arrow which he uses to strike the hearts of people. People who fall in love are said to be ‘struck by Cupid’s arrow’.

Why do some people leave Valentine's cards anonymous?

This trend was started by the Victorians, who thought it was bad luck to sign Valentine's cards with their names.
The Victorians also started the rose-giving trend. They were the favourite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love, and have come to indicatepassion and romance.
Nowadays, more than 50 million roses are given for Valentine's Day every year

When did Valentine's Day become so commercial?

It was during the middle of the 18th century that Valentine's started to take off in England, with lovers sending sweets and cards adorned with flowers, ribbons and images of cupids and birds.
Eventually huge numbers of printed cards replaced hand-written ones. In 1913, Hallmark Cards of Kansas City began mass producing Valentine's cards.
Now about a billion Valentine's Day cards are exchanged every year and it's the second largest seasonal card sending time of the year.

How is Valentine's Day celebrated around the world?

In parts of Europe lovers give each other St Valentine’s keys as romantic gestures and an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart.
In Finland, Valentine's Day is called Ystävänpäivä, which means Friend's Day and focuses on remembering friends.
However, in Mexico, February 14 is a day of national mourning. In countries like Pakistan, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia celebrating the day can result in severe punishment and is seen by conservative Muslims as un-Islamic.
In Brazil, Valentine's day isn't celebrated in February because it usually falls on or around Brazil Carnival. Instead, Brazil celebrates 'Dia dos Namorados' on June 12.
Brazil's celebration honours Saint Anthony - the patron saint of matchmaking and marriages.
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