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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Valentine's Day: February 14th

By Jay Williams

Valentine's Day is a traditionally romantic day on which lovers express their desire for one another by giving one another chocolates, flowers, cards - generally anything meaningful.

Lovers from all around the world celebrate Valentine's Day, Dïa del Amor y la Amistad, Valentinsdag, Dia dos Namorados, giri-choko, which all translates to a lot of chocolate and a lot of love.

The day is closely associated with love, cupid, roses and the mutual exchange of love notes in the form of "valentines."

Originally it was a religious celebration, but today it's more of a marketing exercise, not unlike Easter, when people spend big bucks on showing their affection - sometimes to the whole world!

A century ago, hand written love notes and some flowers would suffice, enough to charm the object of your desire, or your "valentine".

But handwritten notes have largely given way to mass-produced greeting cards, and in some cases newspaper messages that profess undying love to the universe and all its creatures.

Last year alone, some $907 million was spent online for Valentine's Day gifts, cementing the fact that Valentine's Day is the second-largest retail holiday of the year - second only to Christmas. One of the more popular expressions of undying love is the romantic meal, ideally prepared by your own hand. But if that is beyond you, then there are many restaurants that offer Valentine's Day spreads, but you will need to book early.

The whole idea of exchanging gifts seems a little one-sided, because it's usually from a man to a woman.

However I think this year men should take a stand, and have their women pamper and spoil them instead. How about a new bar fridge, a chainsaw, or maybe a handy machete?

To all the women out there: if you are reading this surprise your man this year by getting him that gift he always wanted or let him watch the footy or the cricket or the motor racing on the box without interruption, and massage his feet for good measure.

But just a quick word for the lads, don't forget to do something nice as well - whether a poem from the heart or a great big box of heart-shaped chocolates with strawberry filling.

So have a great day full of love and friendship, tell that special someone you care.


Until 1969, the Catholic Church formally recognised eleven Valentine's Days.

The Valentine's honored on February 14 are Valentine of Rome (Valentinus presb. m. Romae) and Valentine of Terni (Valentinus ep. Interamnensis m. Romae).
Valentine of Rome was a priest in Rome who suffered martyrdom about AD 269 and was buried on the Via Flaminia.

Valentine of Terni became bishop of Interamna (modern Terni) about AD 197 and is said to have been killed during the persecution of Emperor Aurelian. He is also buried on the Via Flaminia, but in a different location than Valentine of Rome.

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