Sunday, February 14th, 2016
Valentine was a bishop in the Christian church in the time of Claudius. The Emperor, believing his soldiers would perform better if they were not distracted by family life, apparently prohibited them to marry. While there does not seem to be evidence of this, it would seem that Claudius encouraged the soldiers to take more than one woman, and this would have been in stark contrast to the teaching of the church.
Valentine felt that it was God’s purpose that couples should be joined in a matrimonial ceremony in the eyes of God and defied Claudius, marrying couples in secret.
The secret was soon exposed and Claudius, furious by this betrayal, imprisoned Valentine. While in prison, the jailor’s daughter became a frequent visitor, and soon she and Valentine fell in love.
The story goes that one day when she came to visit, all she found was an empty cell and a note, which said “from your Valentine X”. He had been executed.
Valentine ’s Day is now a large commercial investment, but interestingly this story of love and romance has spread outside of western society, and is celebrated in Lebanon, Japan and China. However, Iran, India and Pakistan protest against what is considered a western show of lustful feelings.
Apparently a chocolate company promoting Valentine’s Day in Japan, made an error in their translation. As a result it is Japanese women who buy gifts for their sweethearts on Valentine’s Day, February 14th. Japanese men return this favour by giving gifts on White Day, March 14th. The gifts given by Japanese men should be three times the value of the gift they received on Valentine’s Day. A gift of the same value would symbolise the courtship being cut. White was considered the colour of purity, it also resembles sweetness as it is the colour of sugar.
In Korea, single people who have not received a token of love on Valentine’s Day or White Day, meet on Black Day (April 14th) where they eat black noodles with black sauce, however not surprisingly, this is not a popular celebration and is not commercially supported.
On average a billion pounds will be spent on Valentine’s Day in the UK, while men usually spend twice as much on their sweethearts as their female counterparts.