Monday, February 13, 2012

Today's Valentine’s Day, Its evolution and commercialization - A Special Glimpse


It's not too late! Have you planned anything for your Valentine? 

Learn some tips in Celebrating in your own style  ~

The Myths and Evolution of Valentine's Day
According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first "valentine" greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl--possibly his jailor's daughter--who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed "From your Valentine," an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and--most importantly--romantic figure. Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. (source:

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. 

Lupercalia: A Pagan Festival in February 15th 
The Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine's feast day in the middle of February in an effort to "Christianize" the pagan celebration of  Lupercalia. It is celebrated from February 13 to15, a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus. 

At the end of 5th century, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as St. Valentine's Day and outlawed Lupercalia “as it was deemed un-Christian.”  At a later date, the 14th of February became associated with love.  

England and France Influence in the Middle Ages:
During the Middle Ages, it was believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds' mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine's Day should be a day for romance. 

By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine's missive didn't begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine greeting still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.

In Great Britain, Valentine's Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 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 selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as "scrap."

20th Century - the Role of Valentine’s Day
The practice of celebrating Valentine’s Day has been observed across the globe. Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day 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.

Valentine’s Day of the 21st Century
Today, Valentine's day is one of the most commercialized day of the year.  It is a global phenomenon and an accepted practice of celebration regardless of location in this world. 

Valentine’s Day cards are not the only romantic expression of today.  The convenience of electronic cards and messaging are part of the celebration. Instant video conversations with someone you care and love from a distance is available.  Online dating venues provide a space to find someone whom you can celebrate that special day.  

On the other hand, the spending habit of people in 2012 during Valentine's ~


 A celebration option is either of the following;
  •      Romantic Couples normally have a special dinner at fabulous restaurant or specially prepared at home
  •      Flowers and Bouquets are omnipresent, roses in particular at sky rocketing price, depending on what you like to spend. Elegance and sophistication dictates the price.
  •      Diamonds, rings, keys, and love affairs add to the flair of celebration
  •      Chocolates and teddy bears are tokens of love expressions
  •      Commercialization of different venues and romantic get-away  hotels to remote islands internationally and domestically
  •      Commercialized trinkets and any form of memorabilia is available in most if not all stores
  •      Anything but red is a traditional symbol that you cannot miss ~

There is something for everyone and everywhere.  It is a matter of defining how you would like to celebrate this red colored day ~

Have fun :-)

Courtesy: Eva Ortiz-Mair

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