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St. Valentines

by Seda Toksoy

The sun finally showed her face. Gleaming. Warm and full of energy. However there is one more thing made me believe that we left behind a hard winter: Lively chirp of birds. The trees are already green and this is so beautiful after several weeks of gray. It may not be just a coincidence St. Valentine's Day and this wonderful jingle. During Middle Ages it is believed that birds look for their spouses in mid February, namely on the day of St. Valentine, a religious martyr. Emperor Claudius II had Valentine under arrest with the reason his assisting to Christians and tried to convince him it led to no end. Then Valentine was sentenced to death and the penalty was executed on February 14, the day accepted as the birds find their spouse. Pope Gelatius then announced February 14 as St. Valentine's Day on the 5th century.

Therefore February 14, a day of Christian saint converted to a celebrity where love replaced death.

However this celebration have a past dating back to centuries. Valentine, who was also epileptic, was announced as the protective saint of lovers together with the epileptics and after the Church's assimilation Lupercalia celebrations.

Lupercis were the most archaic cult of Rome and their ceremonies have been called Lupercalia derived from Lupercal meaning "female wolf's lair" and from Luperci meaning priests of "a real wild community" (wolf-man wearing peştemal-loincloth) around whom people gather on February 15 and run as if trying to draw a magical circle. An interesting note: In Arcadia at Lyceum hill Faunus (goat-god of Pan's equivalent in Latin) temple used to raise. Who knows maybe the word Lupercus was coming from there. Lyceum is still a living word today. These priests were whipping the passers by with belts made of goat hide. It was believed that this increases the women's fertility. This ritual as a ceremony purifying from sins has been taking place in February (Februarius), which is considered as purification month.

At the end of 5th century the Pope opposed to the Lupercalia to be celebrated in Rome. However purification concept inspiring Lupercalia festival is accepted and revived at Virgin Mary's purification ceremonies.

St. Valentine in Turkey
We can easily say Turks are a community, newly finding out how to show their love and affection directly (well, maybe its better to say again after accepting Islam). Traditions usually hold back even the mother and father to show their affection directly to their children. Anyway love is like water. Even if you block its bed, it will sure find new ways to flow. Consequently, love, even though indirectly, had its place in daily life and continues to exist.

Later the relationships get their share by the help of media expanding worldwide. We rediscovered the value of embracing, hugging, touching at the same time with the world.

About 10-15 years ago a need of love surrounded us unexpectedly. And love showed its face and shined over us mostly in big cities and expressing it, took place on the virtues list. It is so good. Not only for lovers but also for tradesmen. Valentine's day becomes an abundant market in both e-shopping and in reality for manufacturers.

The lovers expect each other show their love, that is oozing our lives in St. Valentine's identity. At the purification period appearing with bird chirrups.

Have a St. Valentines day with a heart full of love!!!

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