Valentine’s Day: The Celebration of Love and Affection

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By Eugene Moodubelle

14 February 2010: Like many other special days, such as friendship day, mother’s day, children’s day, etc. Valentine’s Day has been observed every year on 14th February to celebrate the noble human emotions of love and affection among husband and wife, sweethearts, friends, brothers and sisters and even between parents and children and teachers and students. On this day people send or exchange greeting cards which are commonly known as ‘valentines’ and also gifts, flowers and sweets.

There are different opinions regarding the origin of Valentine’s Day. Some trace it to the ancient Roman festival known as ‘Lupercalia’. The ancient Romans held the festival of ‘Lupercalia’ on 15th February to ensure protection from wolves. During the celebration, young men used to strike people with strips of animal hide. Women were happy to receive these blows as they thought that the whipping made them more fertile. Following the conquest of England by the Romans in the first century, the English borrowed many of the Roman festivals.

Others link the celebration of Valentine’s Day to St. Valentine, one of the early martyrs of the Christian Church. St. Valentine who was martyred during the middle of the third century on the orders of the Roman Emperor, Claudius II. The myths revolving around St. Valentine are quite interesting though there no proof of their authenticity. According to one myth, when the Roman Emperor Claudius prohibited the young men to marry so that they could serve in his army fully dedicated, St. Valentine who was a priest secretly married the young couples in love thus earning the wrath of Claudius for which the former was put to death. Another story says that while in prison, Valentine fell in love with the jailor’s daughter and before he was executed he sent a love note to his beloved signing it as ‘from your Valentine’ an expression that has been used even in modern times.

In England, this day is associated with the belief that on 14th February birds have been found choosing their mates. Geoffrey Chaucer, an English poet during the fourteenth century wrote in ‘The Parliament of Fowls’, “For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,/When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate.” Shakespeare, one of the greatest dramatist of England during the medieval period has made references to Valentine’s Day in some of his plays. In the play ‘Hamlet’, Ophelia, one of the characters in the play, sings, “Good morrow! ‘This St. Valentine’s Day/All in the morning be time,/And I a maid at your window,/To be your Valentine.

People in England probably celebrated Valentine’s Day as early as the fifteenth century as the custom of sending romantic messages on Valentine’s Day may be traced to that century. At first people made their own hand written greeting cards which came to be known as ‘valentines’. Commercial cards were not printed until the early nineteenth century. Many early valentines were blank so that the sender could write a message. The British artist  Kate greenway became famous for her valentines in the late nineteenth century.

In the United States of America a woman named Esther Howland became one of the first manufacturers of valentines in mid-nineteenth century. She began the practice of producing valentine  greeting cards for the market and thus initiated commercialisation of Valentine’s Day. Since then handwritten valentines have largely given way to mass-produced greeting cards and Valentine’s Day has become the second-largest greeting card-sending holiday in the United States after only Christmas.

The early hand painted valentines represented  a fat cupid or showed arrows piercing a heart. Many cards had satin ribbon or lace and were decorated with dry flowers or other fancy items. These cards also had romantic or funny verses. The content of the valentine greeting cards have successively undergone changes and improved over the years. Modern Valentine’s Day symbols include the heart shaped outlines, doves and the figures of the winged Cupid.

Compared to the western world, the celebration of Valentine’s Day is a recent phenomenon in India, especially in the urban areas. With liberalization and globalization since late twentieth century, Valentine’s Day celebration has caught the imagination and fancy of the young people in India.

However, as the day is associated with a Christian Saint, Valentine and the custom of celebrating the day as the manifestation of love and affection in public by exchanging greeting cards, gifts and flowers and attending dance parties and discos is considered to be purely western, the fundamentalists who claim to be the ‘moral custodians’ of India have been targeting the celebration of Valentine’s day since around a decade. The fundamentalist and obscurantist groups such as Shiv Sena, Ram Sene and Bajrang Dal activists have been vandalizing shops and malls selling valentines and gifts and intimidating young couples found together in public places such as parks, beaches or even restaurants or multiplexes.

It is indeed a sorry state of affairs that people are being targeted by the fanatic and reactionary forces for being together to celebrate one of the finest human emotions that too in symbolic way by just being together and exchanging greetings, gifts and flowers.

(From different sources)


Comments on this Article
Dennis, moodbelle Wed, February-17-2010, 12:16
Dear Suraj and thomas, There is confussion am not pullening , belle vision , bellevision as a media they are doing good job, what i meant say that Belle unit of SRS(not belle vision ) start this work rest will follow . I don t have fear of this stupid RAMSENA OR SITA SENA Even am not bother about that in belle .
Thomas, Moodubelle/ Dubai Tue, February-16-2010, 3:56
Dear Denis,Why you are pulling bellevision in between. You have fear of these Sene, you only lead from front to console these your friendly sene.
Suraj-Belle, Dubai/Moodubelle Tue, February-16-2010, 3:47
Hey Dannis ‘DIL PE MATH LE YAAR’ I believe you have better things to do in life…let us close the topic here of SRS. I hope you are not the member of SRS and for your kind information Bellevision is independent and neutral media. Let us not involve in this topic.
Dennis, moodbelle Tue, February-16-2010, 1:40
hey suraj good idea anyway they have no other work and most of them are unemployed so let them work after 8 pm once they get power, if the belle vision start this work rest units will follow the work of this Nepali GURKHA , so it is good for society and they have something for living ,unless making trouble to the society ,so good days there for SRS!!!!
Suraj-Belle, Moodubelle/Dubai Tue, February-16-2010, 10:30
Dear Denis if you claim that SRS unit is good and literate then don’t threaten with your sarcastic comment. Do not forget that Moodubelle is peaceful and beautiful place and If you think that they get power after 8pm then let them do the job of NEPALI GURKHA and serve our village in a better way rather then bothering innocents. Let us not threaten or put fear in the hearts of the people with all these names SRS or whatever…
Dennis, moodbelle Mon, February-15-2010, 11:17
Dear suraj , we are not worry about our belle SRS unit they getting power only after 8 pm .and they are not illatreat they know how to live in soceity without making trouble to other, they are peacfull SRS workers .THEY KNOW HOW TO LOVE EACH OTHER AND CELBERATE VALENTINES DAY !!
Alban D souza, Kunthalnagar Mon, February-15-2010, 5:14
I wish all Lovers "a happy Valentine’s Day" and other s "Happy Muthalik Day"
Suraj-Belle, Dubai/Moodubelle Mon, February-15-2010, 10:21
My friend Dennis, do not come our from the house, take your blanket and sleep at home because there is Ram Sena in Belle. KALLYWALLY Ramasena Ravanasena and toher sena s...REMEBER... pyaar karane vaale, pyaar karate hain shaan se jiite hain shaan se, marate hain shaan se
Dennis, moodbelle Sun, February-14-2010, 10:00
hi happy valentines day to all! but be very carefull there is Ram sens also in belle.
Santosh, Arwa Sun, February-14-2010, 3:32
first of all i wish u all the best.very happy valantine day u and ur team.all success in urs good job
ronith, israel Sun, February-14-2010, 2:17
hi happy valentines day to all!
Raju, Mumbai Sun, February-14-2010, 12:32
Hi Happy Valenite day I LOVE YOU Raju
Victor Castelino, Moodubelle/Dubai Sun, February-14-2010, 12:05
This simple and well researched article explains the origin of this ancient tradition symbolising love and affection. It is not nessary that it should be bewteen opposite sexes. Even gay couples can exchange cards. So why envy hetero sexuals? Happy Valentine Day to every one!
kashif, rabwah Sun, February-14-2010, 9:20
happy valentines s day
Victor D Souza, Moodubelle / Doha Sun, February-14-2010, 9:08
Happy Valentines Day to All. The article is very informative. Thank you Dr. Eugene.
sanjana, delhi Sun, February-14-2010, 12:16
cool article...
kuwar, jaipur Sat, February-13-2010, 11:21
like this wall
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