Valentine's Day | bNifty

The Art of Gifting

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day

“That's what real love amounts to - letting a person be what he really is. Most people love you for who you pretend to be. To keep their love, you keep pretending - performing. You get to love your pretence. It's true, we're locked in an image, an act - and the sad thing is, people get so used to their image, they grow attached to their masks. They love their chains. They forget all about who they really are. And if you try to remind them, they hate you for it, they feel like you're trying to steal their most precious possession.”
Jim Morrison

The legend of Valentine's Day
The legend of Valentine’s Day is said to have originated during the third century in Rome, under the reign of Emperor Claudius II. His armies lacked the sufficient number of soldiers and Claudius could not figure out why more young men didn't want to go to battle. He determined that the young men didn't want to leave their wives. To remedy this, the Emperor introduced a new law and cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome.

A young priest named Valentine decided the law was unjust and began defying the Emperor’s ruling by continuing to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.

Claudius eventually discovered Valentine’s actions and he was caught uniting a man and a woman in the bonds of holy matrimony. The soldiers dragged him to stand before Emperor Claudius' throne where his faith was decided - to be put to death for his violation of the law.

While the priest was imprisoned and waiting for his execution, many young couples threw Thank You notes along with flowers and other gifts into the window of his cell. Among these young people who admired the priest’s doings was the prison guard's daughter. Her father allowed her to visit Bishop Valentine in his cell. The priest fell in love!

Valentine was executed on February 14, 270 AD. While he was waiting for the soldiers to come and drag him away, Bishop Valentine composed a note signed "from Your Valentine."

Over 200 years later, around 496 AD, Pope Gelasius established the feast of St. Valentine on Feb. 14 to honour his memory, however, the Pope referred to the martyr and his acts as “being known only to God”, because not much was really known about Valentine the priest.

Wearing a coronet made from flowers and with a stencilled inscription, St Valentine's skull now resides in the Chiesa di Santa Maria in Cosmedin, on Rome’s Piazza Bocca della Verità.

We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance and people exchange cards, gifts, flowers. 

Why do we associate love with the heart?
The origin of the heart symbol is still out of debate. However, there are some interesting theories below.

Ancient Egyptians were among the earliest perpetrators of the myth that all the thoughts and emotions originate from the heart. In their anatomical experiments, they found that large number of nerves appeared to be converging at a point near the heart. The heart was thus considered to be the organ responsible for emotions and reactions. This is probably why the Egyptians preserved the heart in their mummies and not the brain. 

Even the ancient Greeks thought that the heart is the centre of the soul, all emotions and abstract thoughts. It was then used as a symbol of love in European art too. In the 13th century, a French manuscript had an image where a man knelt in front of his love and literally offered her his heart. 

Also, the heart noticeably shows a significant reaction whenever there is any strong emotion involved, particularly when it involves sexual attraction. These may be the earliest reasons why the heart was associated with love. The feelings of love stem from a region in our brain called amygdala. However, when we are in love, our heart goes 'lub dub', therefore love becomes a heart- felt phenomenon. Sometimes it skips the brain, where the saying goes 'love is blind'.

There is another interesting speculation.

The heart symbol we use today came from idea of two human hearts being fused together as one forming an iconic heart shaped symbol we know as LOVE.

A professor of psychology who studied the symbolism, origin and history of Valentine's Day said the traditional double-lobed heart symbol on candy and cards is inspired by the shape of female buttocks as they appear from behind, according to Discovery News. The Greeks associated beauty with the female behind's curves, he said. "The Greek goddess of beauty, Aphrodite, was beautiful all over, but was unique in that her buttocks were especially beautiful," he told Discovery News. "Her shapely rounded hemispheres were so appreciated by the Greeks that they built a special temple Aphrodite Kallipygos, which literally meant, 'Goddess with the Beautiful Buttocks.' This was probably the only religious building in the world that was dedicated to buttock worship."

Whatever of the theory fits with your believes, love your heart!

What is Love?
The ancient Greeks called love “the madness of the gods.”  They also used seven words to define the different states of love we can experience:

Storage: natural affection
Philia: friendship
Eros: sexual and erotica
Agape: unconditional, divine love
Ludus: flirting
Pragma: committed, married love
Philautia: self love

Modern psychologists define it as a strong desire for emotional union with another person.

But what is love? Were we built to fall in love or was it embedded in us from the myths, movies, love songs?

I wanted to write in depth about the subject, but after all, Love means different things to different people. I used to be the hopeless romantic type, but after some heartbreaks and with age I changed my views. My believe is that with love, you get what you put in! Love is an emotion in action.

Are YOU in love?

 

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