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					Valentine’s Day

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                          My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
                         My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
                          The more I have, for both are infinite.
                                                - William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

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The world celebrates February 14th as the day of love; lovers across the globes send gifts
and flowers to each other and refresh their avowals of love. This is tradition is celebrated
universally and knows no boundaries; its roots are centuries old. Saint Valentine’s Day,
or Valentine’s Day as it is commonly known, has origins in both ancient Roman as well
as Christian traditions.
A common belief is that St. Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the memory of the patron
saint of lovers, St. Valentine. Another reason behind St. Valentine’s Day celebration is
that in mid-February, celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia festival were held in ancient
Rome, Valentine’s Day might have been an effort to “christianize” this celebration.

Mythology of Valentine’s Day:
Roman mythology tells accounts of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, and Cupid,
her son and the god of desire. Cupid is portrayed as a mischievous, winged boy with a
bow and arrow who pierces hearts and makes both gods and mortals fall in love. Cupid’s
arrow symbolises the emotion and desire of love.
In Greek mythology, Cupid is known as Eros, while Venus takes on the name Aphrodite.
 Legend has it that Venus was jealous of a mortal named Psyche due to her beauty. Venus
sent Cupid to punish her, but Cupid fell deeply in love with Psyche and married her.
Since Psyche was a mortal she was not allowed to look at Cupid.
They lived happily until Psyche’s sisters convinced her to look at Cupid. As a
punishment, Cupid deserted her. Their beautiful Gardens and the castle in which they
used to live vanished, and Psyche found herself in an open field, alone. Psyche wandered
around in search of her lover, and found the temple of Venus. Venus gave Psyche a series
of tasks, each one more difficult and more dangerous than the last. Psyche’s last task was
to take a small box to the underworld and bring back Proserpine’s beauty in it. Venus
warned her about the dangers of the realm of the dead, and also about not opening the
box. Tempted beyond control, Psyche opened the box and found deadly slumber instead
of beauty inside it.
Cupid found his love’s lifeless form on the ground. Gathering the deadly sleep from
Psyche’s body, he returned it to the box and forgave her. Venus also forgave Psyche upon
seeing her devotion towards her son. Psyche was turned into a goddess for her undying
love and they lived happily ever after. Today Cupid’s arrow piercing two hearts is the
most well known symbol of deep love and the Valentine’s Day.

History of Valentine’s Day:
The patron saint of love, St. Valentine is the source of the Christian traditions of St.
Valentine’s Day. There are at least three different saints with the name “Valentine” or
“Valentinus” in recorded history and all three were martyred.
According to one account St. Valentine was a third century Roman priest who lived in the
era of Emperor Claudius II. The Emperor passed a law that marriage was illegal for
young men. This was an attempt to improve his army as he thought that unmarried young
men with no responsibilities or ties of family and wives made daring and more efficient
warriors. St. Valentine considered this rule unjust and cruel, as it was against Christian
and social rules, he thus continued to wed young lovers in secret. When Claudius found
out he was outraged and ordered St. Valentine’s execution. In the prison, St. Valentine
was often visited by the jailor’s young daughter and fell in love with her.

The First Valentine Greeting
Before his death, St. Valentine, the patron of love sent a letter to his beloved, which was
signed “From your Valentine.” The expression is still alive centuries after the saint was
laid to rest, and today, lovers call each other their “valentines” and send valentine flowers
and valentine gifts like chocolates to each other on Valentine’s Day.

First Valentine Day Celebration:
If you’re wondering when was the very first Valentine’s Day celebrated then we’ve got
an answer for you! In 498 A.D., Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as St. Valentine's
Day.

Ancient Traditions of Valentine’s Day:

Spring Cleaning:
Ancient Romans marked February as the harbinger of spring and considered it a time for
purification. Cleaning rituals were performed: houses were swept clean and sprinkled
with salt and spelt (a special kind of wheat). The term “Spring cleaning” probably
originated from this ritual.

Festival Of Lupercalia
The festival of Lupercalia also began in February and February 15th was celebrated as a
festival of fertility in the honour of the Roman god of agriculture, Faunus, as well
Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.
The festival began with a sacrifice: a goat for fertility and a dog for purification. The
goat’s hide was then sliced into strips and dipped in the sacrificial blood. Boys took these
strips into the streets of Rome and gently slapped women and the fields of crops with
them. It was believed that these strips would bring fertility for the woman in the coming
year.

Wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve:
This expression also takes root from the festival of Lupercalia: Legend has it that on the
evening of the festival of fertility, all the young, single women in the city would collect
their names in a big urn. Roman bachelors would then pick a name at random out of the
urn. The chosen name represented the maiden with whom the man would be paired for
the year to come. Such matches usually resulted in marriage. This system continued up to
the Middle Ages after which the Church banned it, declaring it to be un-Christian.

Valentine’s Day in Medieval Europe:
Medieval France and England harboured the common belief that February 14th marked
the beginning of bird’s mating season and hence this day should be celebrated as a Day
for Romance.

Oldest Known Valentine in Existence:
 This would a poem by French nobleman Charles, Duke of Orleans to his beloved wife
while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. The poem begins with the following
lines:

'On St. Valentine's day, the lovely sun, carrying along its lighted candle, made its way
         that fine dawn, not long ago, into my locked chamber, all in secret.'

This love note was written in 1415 and is now part of the manuscript collection of British
Library, London.

Royal Valentines:
There are accounts that several years after Charles D. Orleans’s endeavor, King Henry V
hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to his ladylove,
Catherine of Valois.

Valentine’s Day in British History:

Valentine’s Day gained popularity in the British society in the 17th century. By mid
1800’s exchanging valentine flowers and valentine gifts as small tokens of affection was
a common tradition in all social circles of the British society. Friends and lovers would
also send hand written notes to their valentine. By the end of the 18th century, printed
valentine cards gradually replaced handwritten notes.

Mother of the Valentine:
This title has been given to Esther A. Howland. She created the first commercial
Valentine’s Day greeting card in the U.S. in the 1840’s. Howland’s cards were decorated
with real lace, silk ribbons and “scraps’ or colourful pictures.

Some Interesting Facts About Valentine’s Day:
    Approximately one billion valentine cards, valentine flowers and gifts are
      exchanged each year, making Valentine’s Day the second biggest card sending
      event after Christmas.
      Around 85% of all valentine day gifts and valentine day flowers are actually
       purchased by women.
      Famous poet Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets dealing with love, time, beauty and
       mortality.

Great Romances in History:

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly,
  without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way than this:
   where I does not exist nor you, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so
                       close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
                                             - Pablo Neruda, "Love Sonnet XVII"

History is replete with examples of true love and undying devotion. Here are a few:
    Sappho- A Greek lyric poet from 6th century B.C., who supposedly leaped into
       the sea in love of a young sailor, Phaon.
    Shah Jahan- Emperor of India (1628-1658) who created the Taj Mahal, the
       world’s most beautiful mausoleum, keeping a promise made to his beloved wife,
       Mumtaz Mahal, on her deathbed. The flawless white marble façade of the Taj
       Mahal reflects different shades of light from glowing pink at sunrise to pearly,
       flawless white in the moonlight. At the centre of the Taj Mahal, surrounded by
       screens that filter the gleaming light, lies the Emperor’s beloved Queen, a
       testament to rest of the world of his devotion and love for his fair lady.
    King Edward VIII- Crowned King of England in 1936, he proposed Wallis
       Simpson, but the scandal that followed was so big that the prime minister
       declared that he would resign if the marriage took place. The love stricken Royal
       decided to give up the crown for love. In a radio address, he declared his love to
       Simpson in front of the world:
                 "I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of
       responsibility and to discharge my duties as King as I would wish to do
       without the help and support of the woman I love."
          The couple was finally married and titled Duke and Duchess of Windsor. They
       spent the rest of their lives in exile in France.
    Elizabeth Taylor-Who can forget the dark haired beauty that ruled hearts all over
       the world. The two times Oscar winner (Best Actress) was not only famous for
       her rare beauty, but also for her epic love life. She married the same man twice,
       fellow actor Richard Burton but was eventually barred from his funeral by his
       last wife.
    Harry Truman- The president of the United States of America met his true love,
       Bess Wallace, for the first time when he was only six years old. They met at
       again nine years later, to begin a unique courtship that lasted nine years before
       they finally married. Their love story survives in the form of the enormous
       correspondence that took place in their 53-year life together. More than 1300
       letters from Harry Truman to Bess Truman are preserved in the Truman Library
       collections, but most of Bess’s letters were lost to history.
Valentine Flowers:
Flowers make the perfect Valentine’s Day gift. This tradition is as old as the festival
itself. Lovers send Valentine’s Day flower bouquets to their Valentines. Fresh flowers are
not only beautiful but they also carry specific meanings, the ideal means of expressing all
tender feelings. A flower can be used to compliment the personality of the recipient, like
a White Rose represents Purity and Innocence.
The art of using flowers as specific symbols gained popularity in the seventeenth century
when Charles II of Sweden introduced the language of flowers to Europe. This is a
Persian tradition, and special books were published on the subject. Poets and playwrights
portrayed the beautiful Rose as a symbol of love and passion, furthermore, a Red Rose is
also believed to be the favourite flower of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty.
This led to the tradition of presenting a Red Rose to one’s valentine on Valentine’s Day.

Popular Valentine’s Day Flowers:

Rose
Today the Rose is synonymous to love and Valentine’s Day. It comes in different colours
and varieties, each symbolising a unique meaning. The Red Rose is rightfully known as
the flower of love, an unmistakable promise of undying, eternal devotion. Red Roses
convey deep emotions of the heart: Love, Longing, Desire, Respect, Admiration or
Devotion.
 The Yellow Rose is the symbol of Friendship and Caring. This special flower does not
carry an undertone of romance and indicates purely Platonic Emotions.
  The Lavender Rose symbolizes Enchantment, Love At First Sight, Fascination and
Adoration.
   The Blue Rose conveys the message: "I can't have you but I can't stop thinking
about you"
Mixed Roses can convey any combination of feelings and emotions, by mixing roses of
different colours purposefully, you can create a bouquet of any specific emotions. A
bunch of red and white roses would convey the meaning “I Love You Intensely And
My Intentions Are Honourable”; while a random blend of roses in a bouquet represents
mixed feelings or conveys the message: "I Don't Know What My Feelings Are Yet
But I Like You Enough To Send You Roses."

Different varieties of roses can be used to send out specific messages to the receiver:

The Moss Rosebud is indicative of a Confession of love.
The Thorn-less Rose means Love At First Sight, or Early Attachment.
The Damask Rose symbolizes Freshness, and is considered to be the Persian
Ambassador of Love
The Rose of Sharon depicts the meaning Consumed by Love.
The Rose is also unique in the sense that the number of Red Roses sent or received by a
person also has symbolic importance as well.

Send a single Red Rose to say I Love you and send the message You are the one for
me.
Send Two Red Roses to convey Let us be together.
Send Three Red Roses to signify the meaning You and me and our love for company.
Order Half A Dozen Red Roses to portray I am half-way in love with you.
Order A Dozen Red Roses to say Be mine and I love you.
Fifty Red Roses articulate the sentiment My love for you is limitless.

The etiquette related to sending and receiving this majestic emblem of emotions doesn’t
end here. The way one receives a Rose is also very important and suggestive of different
meanings:

Using the Right Hand to accept the Rose suggests that the recipient is in Agreement
With The Sender’s Feelings and confirms their Affirmation.
Using The Left Hand to accept the Rose indicates the recipient’s Disagreement.

Tulips for Valentine’s Day:
 Tulips are associated with eternal love in mythology. The tulip symbolizes The Perfect
Love, or The Perfect Lover. They also signify a Declaration of Love. Red Tulips are
perfect for expressing your love to your valentine. Different coloured Tulips can be
mixed for a more interesting Valentine Bouquet: Add Yellow Tulips to compliment your
valentine’s sunny smile, variegated Tulips will be a testament to your valentine’s
Beautiful Eyes and finally add a White Tulip to claim Worthiness of your valentine’s
Love.

This year surprise your valentine by having Valentine’s Day Flowers Delivered at their
doorstep! Send Red Roses or any other valentine bouquet with Free Delivery to
London. See our Valentine’s Day Flowers section to send Valentine Flowers online.
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