THE GOLDEN LEGEND

THE LEGEND

Saint Valentine, as the legend goes, was imprisoned [3rd-century A.D.] by the Roman Emperor Claudius II. Rome stated that he was locked up for performing weddings on behalf of soldiers, who were not allowed to marry, believing that married men did not make for lasting soldiers.

Saint Valentine, so it is said, wore a purple amethyst ring, a recognizable symbol associated with love; Roman soldiers would recognize the ring and ask him to perform marriage for them. For his disobedience, Valentine was executed [A.D. 270-on Feb-14] by order of the emperor.

Before his execution he is reported to have performed a miracle by healing Julia, the blind daughter of his jailer Asterius. On the evening before Valentine was to be executed, he wrote the first Valentine’s card himself, addressed to Julia who was no longer blind, and as a farewell – he signed it, “Your Valentine.”

Julia herself planted a pink-blossomed almond tree near his grave. Today the Almond tree remains a symbol of abiding love and friendship. The expression from “You’re Valentine” developed into a celebration in which lovers express their love for each other by offering flowers, chocolate, and sending cards [Valentine’s].

ROMANTIC OFFERINGS

Due to Saint Valentine, amethyst has become the birthstone of February, which is thought to attract love. Today Valentine’s Keys are given to lovers as a romantic symbol and an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart. Offering flowers like beautiful fragrant red roses will be the first choice, being a symbol of love and passion.

The custom of sending cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts originated in the UK. From February shopkeepers decorate their shops with balloons, cuddly toys, cards, romantic poetry books and colourful knick-knacks. Symbols used today include heart-shaped outlines, doves, and figures of winged cupids.

Valentine’s Day is all about intimacy, love and sharing, bonding relationships and friendships, letting other people know what you feel for them. The verse Roses are red can be traced as far back to 1590, where the cliché Valentine’s Day poem can be traced back to 1784.

Verse from 1590 – [She bath’d with rose’s red, and violets blew, and all the sweetest flowres, that in the Forrest grew].

Poem from 1784 – [The rose is red, the violet’s blue, the honey’s sweet, and so are you. Thou art my love and I am thine; I drew thee to my Valentine: The lot was cast and then I drew, and fortune said it shou’d be you].

Paper Valentines became so popular [19th-century] that they were manufactured in factories where lavish Valentines were made with real lace and ribbons. Approximately 60,000 Valentine cards were sent by post in [1835] Britain, despite postage being expensive.

NEW TRADITIONS

The increase of the Internet’s popularity at the turn of the century has created new traditions. People are using cheaper digital means of sending Valentine’s Day greetings. An estimated 15 million electronic valentines such as e-cards, love coupons and printable greeting cards were sent in 2010.

Valentine’s Day is one of our top five days of the year in the UK. Though elsewhere, there is a new tradition that is marked in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and China. White Day [March 14] is one month after Valentine’s Day, where lonely women have a second chance to receive a gift from a man.

White Day’s official website states that the colour white was chosen because it’s the color of purity, evoking pure, sweet teen love, and because it’s also the colour of sugar. Men give both white and dark chocolate, as well as other edible and non-edible gifts, such as jewellery.

For those who did not receive anything on Valentine’s Day, or any returns on White Day, there is a day for them. It’s [April 14] called “Black Day!” Lonesome singles head to their local Chinese restaurant and console each other over their loneliness while eating, “BLACK NOODLES.”

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