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Thursday, February 14, 2008

From Your Valentine

Did you get anything for your Valentine's day?

I got my Valentine rose today.....

The Pink Rose

....handmade by Zoey (and Amy).

With so much marketing hype around, it is easy to forget the true meaning of Valentine's day.

I did some reading on the internet for the origin of this occasion. One version of the story has it that Valentine was a priest who was in love with the jailer's daughter. During his final days, he professed his love to the girl with a letter signed 'From your Valentine'.

Another version says that Valentine was the priest who continued to secretly marry young couples despite the prohibition by the Roman emperor, who claimed that bachelors made better soldiers.

Still, another version depicts Valentine as a priest who chosed Christian love (agape) over passionate love (eros). He was martyred for refusing to renounce his religion.

Pink Balloons
Pink Balloons

Fast forward many, many, many, many years later.

A certain pope Gelasius I did not really like the pagan festival where young Roman men celebrated fertility by bringing home young women they won from a lottery game. So he recast the day as a Christian feast day, declaring Feb 14 as St Valentine's Day.

It seems the first time St Valentine's Day was associated with romantic love was in a poem letter written by Geoffrey Caucher for a king and his bride-to-be, both around 14 years old of age.

Heart on Fire in the Sky - amazing picture from Harold Davis

Today, couples celebrate St Valentine's Day by going out for a nice dinner or exchange gifts, chocolate, cards and flowers. I remember when I was studying in Singapore, a stem rose which normally went for $2-5(?) suddenly was selling at $25!

I wouldn't have known that there is such a thing as White Day had I not read the wikipedia. In Japan, women are obliged to give chocolates to men on Valentine's day. In return, the men are supposed to give white chocolate or marshmallow on March 14, hence the name White Day.

So, the next time you are expecting special treatments in the form of expensive spending, do remember that at the end of the day, it is the retailers who are the happiest people after the purchase.

As they say, money cannot buy love and happiness. So, no need to buy expensive things. You can just go online and send a Valentine's Day greeting card on this website for free. Or maybe you can design your own gifts and cards. Homemade gifts are priceless for the love and creativity that goes into them. If you have no idea, just google for 'homemade gifts'.

Happy Valentine's Day

Wait....is the rose for me? I think Zoey was just showing me. Doesn't mean she is giving me, right?

Since you have been so nice and patient reading this utterly boring stuff, let me bore you with some more mushy-mushy songs....

From your Valentine
Susu Kacang

Interesting links:

Protest against Valentine's Day

Storm Worm on Valentine's Day

History Channel

Infoplease - another information site

Credits given to Harold Davis, D. Sharon Pruitt for pics