V is for Valentine

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Celebration of Valentine's Day dates back to the 1400's. I thought it would be both entertaining and interesting to take a look at how this holiday is celebrated throughout various parts of the world during different eras, and reveal some of its myths.

Cupid, God of Love and son of Venus, fell for a mortal maiden named Psyche. Cupid married her even though, Venus was jealous of her beauty, and had ordered him to punish her. Since Psyche was mortal, she was forbidden to look at Cupid, but her sister convinced her to look at him. Cupid was angered and abandoned her, taking their castle and surroundings with him. She stood alone in an open field. Psyche became desperate to find Cupid so she entered into the temple of Venus where she was given a series of difficult tasks. During her last task, she was given a box and warned not to open it. Venus sent her to the underworld to get beauty of Proserpine and place it into the box. The temptation was too strong for Psyche to not open the box, and when she did she feel into a deadly slumber. Cupid found her and put the sleep from her body into the box. The gods were touched by the love Psyche carried for Cupid, so they made her a goddess.

In Japan, on February 14th women buy chocolates for men. However, it isn't until March 14th, White Day, that the men return the favor by gifting chocolates to the women. It's a definite reversal for the American culture. In American culture, men are expected to purchase gifts for women, regardless of whether a woman buys something for their mate or not....

Many years ago, children in England would dress themselves up as adults. They would travel from door to door singing the following song to the person who answered.

Good morning to you, Valentine;
Curl your locks as I do mine---
Two before and three behind.
Good morning to you, Valentine.

The expression 'you wear your heart on your sleeve' derives from the 1800's. Both American and British men pinned pieces of paper with the names of their sweethearts written on it. They wore it for several days which let everyone know who held the key to their heart.

One old myth describes how young girls were supposed to eventually marry the first eligible man she met on this day. If a girl was curious and brave enough, she could conjure up the appearance of her future spouse by going to the graveyard on St. Valentine's Eve at midnight. She would then sing a prescribed chant and run around the church twelve times.

Whatever the case may be, one thing is certain, every culture relates Valentine's Day to romance and love. Next time Valentine's Day rolls around, it might be endearing to try celebrating the holiday inspired by a different culture.

Lexi is an author on http://www.Writing.Com which is a site for Creative Writing.

V is for Valentine

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