Valentine's Day is celebrated on February 14. It is a festival of romantic love and many people give cards, letters, flowers or presents to their spouse or partner. They may also arrange a romantic meal in a restaurant or night in a hotel. Common symbols of Valentine's Day are hearts, red roses and Cupid.

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ORIGINS OF VALENTINE'S DAY: A PAGAN FESTIVAL IN FEBRUARY

While some believe that Valentine's Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine's death or burial-which probably occurred around A.D. 270-others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine's feast day in the middle of February in an effort to "Christianize" the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat's hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city's bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.

VALENTINE'S DAY: A DAY OF ROMANCE

Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity and but was outlawed--as it was deemed "un-Christian"-at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine's Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds' mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine's Day should be a day for romance.

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine's didn't begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the?Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.

TYPICAL VALENTINE'S DAY GREETINGS

In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine's Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one's feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine's Day greetings.

Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the "Mother of the Valentine," made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as "scrap." Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine's Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for?Christmas.) Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.

Do you have any plans for Valentine's Day?

Is there a special way of spending this time in your culture? Learn how the day of love is celebrated in Japanese culture.

Gift-Giving

In Japan, it is only the women who give presents to men. This is done because women are considered to be too shy to express their love. Though it might not?be true especially in?modern times, Valentine's Day was thought to be a great opportunity to let women express their feelings.

Chocolates

Women typically give chocolates to men on Valentine's Day. While chocolates are not necessarily the customary gift to give, this is a custom that smart chocolate companies have spread to boost their sales. This tactic?has been very successful. Now, chocolate companies in Japan sell more than half of their annual sales during the week before Valentine's Day.

Men are supposed to return gifts to women on a day called "White Day" (March 14th). This holiday is a Japanese creation.

Giri-Choko

But don't get too excited when you get chocolates from Japanese girls! They might be "giri-choko (obligation chocolate)."

Women give chocolates not only to their loved ones. While "a true love" chocolate is called "honmei-choko", "giri-choko" is the chocolate given to men such as bosses, colleagues or male friends that women have no romantic interest in. In these cases, the chocolates are given just for friendship or gratitude.

The concept of "giri" is very Japanese. It is a mutual obligation that the Japanese follow when dealing with other people. If someone does you a favor, then you feel obligated to do something for that person.

Would you like to experience a Japanese Valentine's Day???

Come to the Our restaurant!!

We have special Valentine's Day menu until 2/14

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We hope youwill like it and we are looking forward to seeing you guys!!



Posted by: Ryuhei (February 9, 2018 6:43 AM)

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