Here is a copy of Issue 30 of the 'Friends of Buckshaw Village' community magazine. If you'd like to be included in our next edition, please contact us now and we’ll be sure to send the information over to you.
Friends Of Buckshaw Village February 14 is Valentine's Day, the day of hearts, flowers and declarations of love, but where did it start and what does it mean? It’s the day when love is in the air and life is good (or that’s what we’re told!), and it’s the most popular day of the year for marriage proposals. You’ve probably celebrated it, but what it’s all about? It’s recognised around the world, and was started by one man. Legend tells us that St Valentine, a priest in Ancient Rome in around 3AD, married loved-up couples in secret when Emperor Claudius II banned marriage (he believed married men made bad soldiers!). When discovered he was sentenced to death, but whilst in prison he fell in love with his jailer’s daughter, and shortly before his death he sent her a letter declaring his love, signing it “from your Valentine”. Whilst this story is the most common, Valentine was a popular name between the 2nd and 8th centuries AD, and there are several martyrs with this name. There’s even a Pope Valentine. The Catholic Church recognises three different saints by the same name, each of which was martyred during their life. Legend has it that one of them wore a purple amethyst ring (amethyst being February’s birth stone) with an image of Cupid, the Roman God of Love, engraved on it. Why February 14th? It’s said that St Valentine, the priest in Ancient Rome, died in February, hence Valentine’s Day being celebrated in February, but is this history or myth? There are a number of theories. One claims February 14 was chosen because it coincided with a pagan celebration, Lupercalia, the festival of fertility, dedicated to the Roman God of Agriculture: Faunus. The celebration of Lupercalia ended with the names of single Roman women being placed in an urn for bachelors to pick out, leading to a number of marriages. Valentine’s Day around the world. In the UK, Valentine’s Day has evolved over thousands of years into one of the biggest days of the year. The day conjures up images of romantic candle-lit dinners, flowers and chocolates – but how do the rest of the world celebrate? In Japan men are spoilt by their women and showered with affection. The main gift is chocolate and there are different types of chocolate for different types of relationship (family, partner, boss, friend). In Taiwan the Japanese tradition is reversed and women receive chocolates and presents and are the main focus of the day.
Friends Of Buckshaw Village Until recently Valentine’s Day wasn’t widely celebrated in Denmark or Norway, but now men send anonymous rhyming poetry to women they admire, but can only provide one clue to their identity. If the recipient guesses who it’s from, they’ll send her an Easter egg later in the year! In Finland and Estonia Valentine’s Day has been changed to ‘Friends Day’, and gifts and cards are exchanged between close friends, not just couples. France, which is reputed to be the most romantic country in the world, celebrate with lots of passion. There was a very well-known celebration named “loterie d’amour” or “drawing for love”. Men and women would stand opposite each other in the streets and pair off. If the men didn’t like their match they’d swap her for another! During this time bonfires were lit, and scorned women would burn pictures of their ex partners - yikes! One of the most famous Valentines traditions in Italy involves young single women getting up before dawn on 14 February to find a husband. Traditionally the first man a woman saw on Valentine’s Day was supposed to be her future husband. That could be awkward! On 14 February in South Africa, women pin a paper heart to their sleeve and write the name of the man they love on it. The tradition started in Ancient Rome but was adopted in South Africa, and may be where the phrase ‘wearing your heart on your sleeve’ comes from. Whatever you’re doing this Valentine’s Day, have a great day.