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February 14th – The Celebration of Valentine’s Day

The 14th of February is Valentine’s Day, the day on which we celebrate and explore love in all its many ideals.
How a day for lovers came to be celebrated during the middle of February is interesting and has many origins.
History shows that Valentine’s Day began during the Roman Empire with the Lupercalia festival held in honour of the God of Fertility. The festival enabled young men to search for and choose a soul-mate to wed, which was a common practice during this time.
However when Claudius II became emperor he outlawed marriage for the purpose of building a strong army of men without the distractions of family life.
During his reign, young lovers wishing to marry approached the Catholic Bishop Valentine, a true romantic at heart, who would secretly marry them.
Consequently, when Emperor Claudius II found this out he had Bishop Valentine thrown into jail. Valentine’s jailor allowed him to educate his daughter, and on the day of Valentines execution his last letter to this girl was signed “from your Valentine”.
Around 496 AD, Christianity had taken over Rome and Pope Gelasius outlawed the Lupercalia festival, replacing it with a celebration to honour the martyr Saint Valentine, from which began the symbolic exchange of love notes signed “from your valentine”.
Many of the symbolic and traditional gifts offered to celebrate Valentine’s day and express our undying love still follow and represent historical significance.
The exchange of cards depicting red love hearts, cupid’s bow and arrow, and roses, was first associated to romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer during the High Middle Ages when the tradition of courtly love flourished.
Name cards of the female courtiers were placed into a bowl, and the male courtiers would draw out a name card which they attached to their sleeve for a week in anticipation of them both meeting and consequently fall in love. Hence the phrase “wearing your heart on your sleeve”.
Cupid is the most famous of Valentine’s Day symbols, a mischievous winged cherub armed with a bow and arrow for piercing hearts and awakening love. In Roman mythology Cupid is the son of Venus, the goddess of love. In Greek mythology he is known as Eros, the son of Aphrodite.
There are many facets to the legend of this romantic cherub, however the one we are possibly most familiar with states that if cupid shoots you with his arrow, then you will fall madly in love with the next person you meet!
As Valentine’s celebrations continue to evolve, it has established an occasion where lovers express their undying love for each other with the presentation of red roses, confectionery, or exchanging secret love notes/cards known as “Valentines”.
In Europe, Saint Valentine keys and love locks are given to lovers as a romantic symbol and an invitation to “unlock the givers heart”.
As depicted throughout history in the form of folklore, mythology and legends, traditions are formed and celebrated. Perhaps this Valentine’s Day we should consider exchanging gifts with our true love that offer a different dimension to the historical ones, which may create and evolve into new traditions.

Present your true love with a Rose Quartz crystal heart. This crystal represents unconditional love, whilst opening your heart to receive and attract this love.
Create a romantic zone for you and your Valentine with a heart shaped Himalayan Salt Lamp, creating a peaceful and beautiful ambience in which your love can blossom.
Jewellery is always well received, so consider bestowing matching crystal heart shaped pendants or other matching styles that are significant, whilst utilising and imparting the energy of natures gifts.
A set of red heart shaped bookends, hand carved from soapstone crystal, or a heart shaped soapstone jewellery box are other options for incorporating traditional heart symbols in a unique and modern style.
Whatever concept or gift you choose to express your undying love to your Valentine, may it create and symbolise the establishment of new traditions and may this Valentine’s Day fulfill your hearts with romance, excitement and most of all love.

Written by Elephant Shop — February 10, 2015