Wednesday, February 15, 2012


WHY DO WE CELEBRATE IT? - More than a Hallmark holiday, Valentine’s Day, like Halloween, is rooted in pagan partying. The lovers’ holiday traces its roots to raucous annual Roman festivals where men stripped naked, grabbed goat- or dog-skin whips, and spanked young maidens in hopes of increasing their fertility, said classics professor Noel Lenski of the University of Colorado at Boulder. The annual pagan celebration, called Lupercalia, was held every year on February 15 and remained wildly popular well into the fifth century A.D. - at least 150 years after Constantine legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire. Lupercalia was “clearly a very popular thing, even when the Christians are trying to close it down,” Lenski said. “So there’s reason to think that the Christians might instead have said, OK, we’ll just call this a Christian festival.” The church pegged the festival to the legend of St. Valentine.  It is said that in the third century A.D., Roman Emperor Claudius II, seeking to bolster his army, forbade young men to marry. Valentine, it is said, flouted the ban, performing marriages in secret. 

For his defiance, Valentine was executed in A.D. 270 - on February 14, the story goes.  While it’s not known whether the legend is true, Lenski said, “it may be a convenient explanation for a Christian version of what happened at Lupercalia.”  Greeting cards, as usual, will be the most common Valentine’s Day gifts. Fifty-two percent of U.S. consumers plan to send at least one, according to the National Retail Federation survey. The Greeting Card Association, an industry trade group, says about 190 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year. And that figure does not include the hundreds of millions of cards schoolchildren exchange.  An estimated 50.5 percent of U.S. consumers will exchange Valentine’s Day candy in 2012, according to the retail federation survey - adding up to about a sweet billion dollars in sales. About 75 percent of that billion is from sales of chocolate, which has been associated with romance. But there’s nothing chocolaty about Valentine’s Day’s most iconic candy: those demanding, chalky little hearts emblazoned “BE MINE,” “KISS ME,” “CALL ME.”

Yesterday, on this Valentine’s Day, the average person in the USA spent $126 on their loved one, which amounts to about $17 billion this year. May St. Valentine’s story inspire you to not only show romantic love to your mate, but to show brotherly (or sisterly) love to everyone you encounter on that day and everyday.  If we love Lord Krishna, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and center of the universe, then we will automatically love all His other sons and daughters even more.

With Valentine’s Day recently passing, we are reminded of the modern day relationships between men and women and the issues that come with them. Unlike during Vedic times, in today’s society, men and women are free to mingle amongst each other and have independence in choosing their significant others. ... Revealing our loving feelings to someone else naturally give us tremendous satisfaction and bliss. We want the other person to know how we feel. ... These loving feelings exist in all of us due to our original loving relationship with God. We are all part and parcels of God, but we have forgotten this relationship due to our contact with material nature. ... If we declare our love for God and sincerely mean it, then He will never abandon us. Krishna will love us ten times more than we love Him.

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