This week our paper is publishing a special Valentine's Day issue. Albeit love, care and affection belong to everyday life, it's good to raise one weekday on the pedestal.
Our world is too busy today and it feels, that the only times offspring visit their parents are at Christmas, Thanksgiving and birthdays. Valentine - or like in Finland; Friend's Day - is dedicated to remind us of our friends and closest ones in the middle of normal life.
Nowadays e-mail cards have supplanted the traditional cardboard one brought by a mailman. However a genuine memory from a friend could be hung on the wall of an office or on the night chest at home. In the old days even the cards were hand-made.
Valentine's Day offers a great opportunity to take your sweetheart to a dinner and make a move. Modern woman can also invite her prospective man friend out for a meal or even ballroom dancing.
Even though roots of the Valentines are Christian, the habit has spread to many predominantly non-Christian countries like China. In fact they have two such festivities.
The newer one is our Western one on February 14th and the traditional one, called Qixi is celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month in according to their lunar calendar. This August day has become a popular proposal day, naturally via a matchmaker.
Just like the Thanksgiving unifies all the races and denominations in North-America, St Valentine functions similarly in the whole world. At least the day has eager promoters everywhere, namely florists, candy makers and restaurants, which can also create nice atmosphere with their decorations.
In spite of all the commercialism, the most important thing in the day is its sincerity and soft principals........
Valentine's Day emerged as a sad coincidence. There are several original stories, but the most trusted is a legend of the Bishop of Terni at the age of Roman pogroms.
Bishop named Valentinus secretly married soldiers, when Roman officials thought unmarried young men were better warriors, since they didn't miss their families.
Another story goes so that the bishop admonished the youngsters to refuse a military service and stay with their loved ones. As a result emperor Marcus Claudius ordered him a death sentence and he was executed on February 14th in year 269.
Later on they built a church on his grave and St. Valentin became a patron saint for all the lovers and engaged ones.
If one can ever say that a martyrdom was well worth it, maybe this was. Since his remembrance has brought so many couples together, much more than he could have ever dreamed of.