by Savitha C Muppala on  February 13, 2009 at 6:25 PM Celebrating Life
Cupid's Day Out - Ooh La La, It is Valentine's Day
February 14th, 2009

Excitement is building up in 25-year-old Justin, as the countdown for the most romantic day of the year, has already begun. He cannot seem to contain the flow of adrenalin at the mere thought of dedicating the day to his love. Confirming and reconfirming all the arrangements for his romantic evening, the love-struck youth is just waiting to get his hands on the bunch of red roses he will be presenting to his gorgeous love.. 

In a leading cafeteria located in the 'Silicon Valley' of India, Bangalore, a group of 'PYT's or pretty young things are holding an interesting conversation over a cappuccino. No marks for guessing, as they are brainstorming about what to wear for the Valentine's Day Ball. One among them looks a little concerned, as she has not found a valentine yet.  She hopes she will turn lucky at the ball and find someone special on Valentine's Day.

February 14th, 2009, is celebrated as Valentine's Day all over the world. 'Be my Valentine', 'For my Valentine' are famous words that fill the air, charged with a magical camaraderie. Lovers, friends, and just about anybody can express love for the ones they love.  As people revel in love on this day, they demonstrate their emotions with a heady exchange of gifts, cards, e- greetings, flowers, parties, and romance. One cannot miss the insignia of Valentine's Day famous all over the world - the outline of a heart with a picture of Cupid engraved on it.

The word 'Valentine' is synonymous with love and needs no introduction. Yet, how many of us actually know the history of this day?

History of St.Valentine is as mysterious as the famous emotion associated with the day. Legend has it, that St.Valentine was a priest in Rome during the third century. It is believed that Emperor Claudius II forbade young men to marry during this time, as he felt that single men made dedicated soldiers. It is believed that Valentine saw gross injustice with such a move, and began to perform clandestine marriages. This enraged Claudius and Valentine was sentenced to death. 

Other stories about the history of Valentine's Day suggest that Valentine may have been put to death while assisting Christians escape from Roman prisons. Another popular legend has it that during Valentine's days in prison, he had sent a greeting to a young girl, thought to be the jailor's daughter, who offered him companionship during the tough times. The famous expression, 'From your Valentine,' may have begun in the letter written by Valentine himself to this young girl.

A Card for Someone you Love

Close to one billion Valentine cards are sent annually for the occasion, making it the second largest card-sending occasion after Christmas.

Esther A. Howland, called as the 'Mother of the Valentine', was responsible for the first commercial production of valentine day cards in the U.S- the cards were adorned with lace, colourful pictures, and ribbons nicknamed 'scrap'. 

According to statistics, women make 85% of the purchase of Valentine day cards.

Business of Love

Lovers express their love by a mutual exchange of gifts. Today, shopping for Valentine's Day is a happening trend, that it is surprising if one does not keep up with the Joneses.  Shops are seen displaying their wares and banners with the Valentine's Day message glare from every corner. Advertisements and publicity start almost a month in advance, to rake in the moolah in the name of love.

Hotels and restaurants come out with attractive packages to get lovers to cough up for a magical evening. Catchy teasers often confuse the love struck youngsters, who fall completely for the brilliantly worded advertisements. While it is a time of brisk business and big bucks for some, for the heady rest, it is a time of gifts and gaiety galore.

India - Fear dampens fervour

The fervour of Valentine's Day infectiously spreading throughout the world, is rather muted in India.  The Mangalore pub incident, which is fresh in our collective memories, has thrown a wet blanket on the heady spirit of love.

The Hindu radical groups, who have voiced their note of dissent against Valentine's Day celebrations, contend that such frolic in the name of love is against Indian culture. In their opinion, Valentine's Day is not a celebration of love but of lust, which must be denigrated. 

"Shri Rama Sena", the right-wing Hindu group responsible for the Mangalore pub incident, has warned that it will stop people from celebrating Valentine's Day. Further, they have warned couples against any public display of affection, which may result in forced marriages.

Love knows no violence or hatred. Barriers seem to vanish in the face of true love. Valentine's Day is a celebration of this universal emotion, let us make it a 'love'ly day to spread the message of love.

Source: Medindia

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