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Log In Don't have an account? Sign Up Forgot your password? Login Forgot your password? Email Send Have an account? Login Don't have an account? Get our top 10 stories in your inbox: In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery , and sending greeting cards known as " valentines ".
Valentine's Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards. Numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine. Romae and Valentine of Terni Valentinus ep.
The relics of Saint Valentine were kept in the Church and Catacombs of San Valentino in Rome, which "remained an important pilgrim site throughout the Middle Ages until the relics of St. Valentine of Terni became bishop of Interamna modern Terni and is said to have been martyred during the persecution under Emperor Aurelian in He is buried on the Via Flaminia, but in a different location from Valentine of Rome.
Oruch states that "abstracts of the acts of the two saints were in nearly every church and monastery of Europe. He was martyred in Africa with a number of companions, but nothing more is known about him. February 14 is celebrated as St. Valentine's Day in various Christian denominations ; it has, for example, the rank of 'commemoration' in the calendar of saints in the Anglican Communion. The feast day is still celebrated in Balzan Malta where relics of the saint are claimed to be found, and also throughout the world by Traditionalist Catholics who follow the older, pre- Second Vatican Council calendar.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church , St. Cooper, in The Dictionary of Christianity , writes that Saint Valentine was "a priest of Rome who was imprisoned for succouring persecuted Christians. The same events are also found in Bede's Martyrology , which was compiled in the 8th century. Claudius was impressed by Valentine and had a discussion with him, attempting to get him to convert to Roman paganism in order to save his life. Valentine refused and tried to convert Claudius to Christianity instead.
Because of this, he was executed. Before his execution, he is reported to have performed a miracle by healing Julia, the blind daughter of his jailer Asterius. The jailer's daughter and his forty-six member household family members and servants came to believe in Jesus and were baptized. A later Passio repeated the legend, adding that Pope Julius I built a church over his sepulchre it is a confusion with a 4th-century tribune called Valentino who donated land to build a church at a time when Julius was a Pope.
There is an additional embellishment to The Golden Legend , which according to Henry Ansgar Kelly, was added centuries later, and widely repeated. This order says that according to legend, "Julia herself planted a pink-blossomed almond tree near his grave. Today, the almond tree remains a symbol of abiding love and friendship. Another embellishment suggests that Saint Valentine performed clandestine Christian weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry.
Saint Valentine supposedly wore a purple amethyst ring, customarily worn on the hands of Christian bishops with an image of Cupid engraved in it, a recognizable symbol associated with love that was legal under the Roman Empire;   Roman soldiers would recognize the ring and ask him to perform marriage for them. While the European folk traditions connected with Saint Valentine and St. Valentine's Day have become marginalized by the modern Anglo-American customs connecting the day with romantic love , there are some remaining associations connecting the saint with the advent of spring.
While the custom of sending cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts originated in the UK, Valentine's Day still remains connected with various regional customs in England. In Norfolk , a character called 'Jack' Valentine knocks on the rear door of houses leaving sweets and presents for children. Although he was leaving treats, many children were scared of this mystical person.
In Slovenia , Saint Valentine or Zdravko was one of the saints of spring, the saint of good health and the patron of beekeepers and pilgrims. Plants and flowers start to grow on this day. It has been celebrated as the day when the first work in the vineyards and in the fields commences.
It is also said that birds propose to each other or marry on that day. Another proverb says "Valentin — prvi spomladin" "Valentine — the first spring saint" , as in some places especially White Carniola , Saint Valentine marks the beginning of spring. The patron of love was Saint Anthony , whose day has been celebrated on June There is no evidence of any link between St.
Valentine's Day and the rites of the ancient Roman festival Lupercalia, despite many claims by many authors. Valentine's Day, but prior to Chaucer in the 14th century, there were no links between the saints named Valentinus and romantic love. In Ancient Rome , Lupercalia , observed February 13—15, was an archaic rite connected to fertility. Lupercalia was a festival local to the city of Rome. The more general Festival of Juno Februa , meaning "Juno the purifier" or "the chaste Juno", was celebrated on February 13— Pope Gelasius I — abolished Lupercalia.
Some researchers have theorized that Gelasius I replaced Lupercalia with the celebration of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and claim a connection to the 14th century's connotations of romantic love, but there is no historical indication that he ever intended such a thing. Alban Butler in his Lifes of the Principal Saints — claimed without proof that men and women in Lupercalia drew names from a jar to make couples, and that modern Valentine's letters originated from this custom.
In reality, this practice originated in the Middle Ages, with no link to Lupercalia, with men drawing the names of girls at random to couple with them. This custom was combated by priests, for example by Frances de Sales around , apparently by replacing it with a religious custom of girls drawing the names of apostles from the altar. However, this religious custom is recorded as soon as the 13th century in the life of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary , so it could have a different origin.
Oruch writes that the first recorded association of Valentine's Day with romantic love is in Parlement of Foules by Geoffrey Chaucer. Readers have uncritically assumed that Chaucer was referring to February 14 as Valentine's Day; however, mid-February is an unlikely time for birds to be mating in England [ clarification needed ]. Henry Ansgar Kelly has observed that Chaucer might have had in mind the feast day of St. Valentine of Genoa, an early bishop of Genoa who died around AD ; it was probably celebrated on 3 May.
Oruch notes that the date on which spring begins has changed since Chaucer's time because of the precession of the equinoxes and the introduction of the more accurate Gregorian calendar only in On the Julian calendar in use in Chaucer's time, February 14 would have fallen on the date now called February 23, a time when some birds have started mating and nesting in England. Chaucer's Parliament of Foules refers to a supposedly established tradition, but there is no record of such a tradition before Chaucer.
The speculative derivation of sentimental customs from the distant past began with 18th-century antiquaries , notably Alban Butler , the author of Butler's Lives of Saints , and have been perpetuated even by respectable modern scholars. Most notably, "the idea that Valentine's Day customs perpetuated those of the Roman Lupercalia has been accepted uncritically and repeated, in various forms, up to the present". Three other authors who made poems about birds mating on St.
Valentine's Day around the same years: Chaucer most probably predated all of them but, due to the difficulty of dating medieval works, it is not possible to ascertain which of the four first had the idea and influenced the others. The earliest description of February 14 as an annual celebration of love appears in the Charter of the Court of Love.
The charter, allegedly issued by Charles VI of France at Mantes-la-Jolie in , describes lavish festivities to be attended by several members of the royal court, including a feast, amorous song and poetry competitions, jousting and dancing. At the time, the duke was being held in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt , The earliest surviving valentines in English appear to be those in the Paston Letters , written in by Margery Brewes to her future husband John Paston "my right well-beloved Valentine".
Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes, And dupp'd the chamber-door; Let in the maid, that out a maid Never departed more. John Donne used the legend of the marriage of the birds as the starting point for his epithalamion celebrating the marriage of Elizabeth , daughter of James I of England , and Frederick V, Elector Palatine , on Valentine's Day:.
All the Ayre is thy Diocese And all the chirping Queristers And other birds ar thy parishioners Thou marryest every yeare The Lyrick Lark, and the graue whispering Doue, The Sparrow that neglects his life for loue, The houshold bird with the redd stomacher Thou makst the Blackbird speede as soone, As doth the Goldfinch, or the Halcyon The Husband Cock lookes out and soone is spedd And meets his wife, which brings her feather-bed. This day more cheerfully than ever shine. The verse " Roses are red " echoes conventions traceable as far back as Edmund Spenser 's epic The Faerie Queene 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. In , a British publisher issued The Young Man's Valentine Writer , which contained scores of suggested sentimental verses for the young lover unable to compose his own.
Printers had already begun producing a limited number of cards with verses and sketches, called "mechanical valentines. Fancy Valentines were made with real lace and ribbons, with paper lace introduced in the midth century. A reduction in postal rates following Sir Rowland Hill 's postal reforms with the invention of the postage stamp Penny Black saw the number of Valentines posted increase, with , sent just one year after its invention, and ushered in the less personal but easier practice of mailing Valentines.
In the United States, the first mass-produced Valentines of embossed paper lace were produced and sold shortly after by Esther Howland — of Worcester, Massachusetts. Since the 19th century, handwritten notes have given way to mass-produced greeting cards. In , the British chocolate company Cadbury created Fancy Boxes — a decorated box of chocolates — in the shape of a heart for Valentine's Day.
Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately million valentines are sent each year in the US. Half of those valentines are given to family members other than husband or wife, usually to children. When the valentine-exchange cards made in school activities are included the figure goes up to 1 billion, and teachers become the people receiving the most valentines. The rise of Internet popularity at the turn of the millennium is creating new traditions.
Millions of people use, every year, digital means of creating and sending Valentine's Day greeting messages such as e-cards , love coupons or printable greeting cards. An estimated 15 million e-valentines were sent in In the modern era, liturgically, the Anglican Church has a service for St. Valentine's Day the Feast of St. Valentine , which includes the optional rite of the renewal of marriage vows. Valentine's Day customs [ which? In the later 20th and early 21st centuries, these customs spread to other countries, but their effect has been more limited than those of Hallowe'en , or than aspects of Christmas , such as Santa Claus.
It is also common to see people perform "acts of appreciation" for their friends.
In Brazil , the Dia dos Namorados lit. Couples exchange gifts, chocolates, cards, and flower bouquets. The February 14 Valentine's Day is not celebrated at all because it usually falls too little before or too little after the Brazilian Carnival  — that can fall anywhere from early February to early March and lasts almost a week. Because of the absence of Valentine's Day and due to the celebrations of the Carnivals, Brazil was recommended by U.
In the United States, about million Valentine's Day cards are sent each year, not including the hundreds of millions of cards school children exchange. In Chinese, Valentine's Day is called lovers' festival simplified Chinese: The "Chinese Valentine's Day" is the Qixi Festival , celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar.
It commemorates a day on which a legendary cowherder and weaving maid are allowed to be together. In Chinese culture , there is an older observance related to lovers, called " The Night of Sevens " Chinese: According to the legend, the Cowherd star and the Weaver Maid star are normally separated by the Milky Way silvery river but are allowed to meet by crossing it on the 7th day of the 7th month of the Chinese calendar.
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In recent years, celebrating White Day has also become fashionable among some young people. In India , in antiquity, there was a tradition of adoring Kamadeva , the lord of love; exemplificated by the erotic carvings in the Khajuraho Group of Monuments and by the writing of the Kamasutra. Valentine's Day celebrations did not catch on in India until around It was spread due to the programs in commercial TV channels, such as MTV , dedicated radio programs, and love letter competitions, in addition to an economical liberalization that allowed the explosion of the valentine card industry.
In modern times, Hindu and Islamic  traditionalists have considered the holiday to be cultural contamination from the West, a result of globalization in India. Despite these obstacles, Valentine's Day is becoming increasingly popular in India.
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Valentine's Day has been strongly criticized from a postcolonial perspective by intellectuals from the Indian left. The holiday is regarded as a front for "Western imperialism", " neocolonialism ", and "the exploitation of working classes through commercialism by multinational corporations ". They also criticize mainstream media attacks on Indians opposed to Valentine's Day as a form of demonization that is designed and derived to further the Valentine's Day agenda.
Our activists will beat them up". In the first part of the 21st century, the celebration of Valentine's Day in Iran has been harshly criticized by Islamic teachers who see the celebrations as opposed to Islamic culture. In , the Iranian printing works owners' union issued a directive banning the printing and distribution of any goods promoting the holiday, including cards , gifts, and teddy bears.
Outlets that violate this will be legally dealt with", the union warned. In Iran, the Sepandarmazgan , or Esfandegan, is a festival where people express love towards their mothers and wives, and it is also a celebration of earth in ancient Persian culture. It has been progressively forgotten in favor of the Western celebration of Valentine's Day. The Association of Iran's Cultural and Natural Phenomena has been trying since to make Sepandarmazgan a national holiday on February 17, in order to replace the Western holiday.
It is celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Av usually in late August. What I, now loosened, sink into is an old big place, it is there already, for you are already there, and the cat got there before you, yet it is hard to locate. What is more, the place is not found but seeps from our touch in continuous creation, dark enclosing cocoon round ourselves alone, dark wide realm where we walk with everyone.
Not a particularly obscure or original choice, I know. The poem has become a favourite at weddings, though in some ways it's a strange choice. It's not just the snorting and weaning, the schoolboy-pleasing raunch of "suck'd on country pleasures" or the fact that the whole poem is a sort of bedroom scene.
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There's also that raffish wink at the end of the first stanza. But in the last two stanzas, Donne changes tone. When I first came across this poem, my preference was for the poetry of unrequited yearning; the please-go-out-with-me school. Perhaps not so out of place at a wedding after all.
I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I Did, till we loved? Were we not weaned till then But sucked on country pleasures, childishly? Or snorted we in the seven sleepers' den? If ever any beauty I did see, Which I desired, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee.
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And now good-morrow to our waking souls, Which watch not one another out of fear; For love all love of other sights controls, And makes one little room an every where. Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone, Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown, Let us possess one world; each hath one, and is one. My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears, And true plain hearts do in the faces rest; Where can we find two better hemispheres, Without sharp north, without declining west?
Whatever dies, was not mixed equally;. A serenade, an interestingly broken sonnet, a bravura musical performance, perfect marriage of sound and sensuality; a passionate seduction and one of the loveliest lyrics in the language. The core erotic image is incorporation: The craft mirrors the incorporation message: The sonnet feels rhymed but it's not: Tennyson is always innovative and the only rhyme repeated five times is "me".
But each chunk of thought ends with the lover's insistence look at me , and by the end the beloved, too is incorporated in that me. It is a brilliant love poem but totally — and justifiedly — also in love with its own music. Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white; Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk; Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font: The fire-fly wakens; waken thou with me. Now folds the lily all her sweetness up, And slips into the bosom of the lake: So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip Into my bosom and be lost in me.
It's suffered a few errors of transcription over the centuries: I first read it in Geoffrey Grigson's Faber Book of Love Poems , where line 12 was inadvertently omitted, and I've cheerfully replicated the error several times since. What always stops me in my tracks is the tenderness of the address, and the feeling that I'm eavesdropping and should probably stop: Dyer couches her great grief in the language of almost playful domestic annoyance: The first three words alone manage to say everything about the absurd and paradoxical gift of our human love: A rough deal all round, then — but in their perfect articulation, poems like this offer as much assuagement as there is to find, and keep the fire of love burning way beyond the lovers' own deaths, its raw intimacy as present as ever.
When Larkin said "What will survive of us is love", he meant nothing so uncomplicated and unequivocal; but even he put the accent on us. My dearest dust, could not thy hasty day Afford thy drowsy patience leave to stay One hour longer: But since thy finished labour hath possessed Thy weary limbs with early rest, Enjoy it sweetly; and thy widow bride Shall soon repose her by thy slumbering side; Whose business, now, is only to prepare My nightly dress, and call to prayer: Mine eyes wax heavy and the day grows old, The dew falls thick, my blood grows cold.
Draw, draw the closed curtains: My dear, my dearest dust; I come, I come. The weight, as it were, of an eyelash. When he was Cameron Mackintosh Professor at Oxford, Patrick Marber asked me how tutors resist the charms of their pupils. But sometimes youth exacts its tribute and beauty renders all that red ink irrelevant. John Fuller 's witty wishful-thinking is purely Platonic: The things about you I appreciate May seem indelicate: I'd like to find you in the shower And chase the soap for half an hour. I'd like to have you in my power And see your eyes dilate.
I'd like to have your back to scour And other parts to lubricate. Sometimes I feel it is my fate To chase you screaming up a tower Or make you cower By asking you to differentiate Nietzsche from Schopenhauer. I'd like to offer you a flower. I like the hair upon your shoulders, Falling like water over boulders.
I like the shoulders too: Your collar-bones have great potential I'd like your particulars in folders Marked Confidential. I like your cheeks, I like your nose, I like the way your lips disclose The neat arrangement of your teeth Half above and half beneath In rows. I like your eyes, I like their fringes.
The way they focus on me gives me twinges. Your upper arms drive me berserk. I like the way your elbows work. I like your wrists, I like your glands, I like the fingers on your hands. I'd like to teach them how to count, And certain things we might exchange, Something familiar for something strange. I'd like to give you just the right amount And get some change. I like it when you tilt your cheek up. I like the way you not and hold a teacup. I like your legs when you unwind them. Even in trousers I don't mind them.
I like each softly-moulded kneecap. I like the little crease behind them. I'd always know, without a recap, Where to find them. I like the sculpture of your ears. I like the way your profile disappears Whenever you decide to turn and face me. I'd like to cross two hemispheres And have you chase me. I'd like to smuggle you across frontiers Or sail with you at night into Tangiers.
I'd like you to embrace me. I'd like to see you ironing your skirt And cancelling other dates. I'd like to button up your shirt. I like the way your chest inflates. I'd like to soothe you when you're hurt Or frightened senseless by invertebrates.
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