From the Heart

For 62% of people, Valentine’s Day is a lovely time of the year when most recognize their love and appreciation for their friends and families. Lovers go to impracticable extents to make their partner feel their contentment, while others enjoy the simple gestures of a night spent at their apartment eating Chinese Take-Out, while watching a romantic love movie. For those who feel the need to take a bigger initiative to make February 14th a day that will forever be in their memories and their hearts, they might just go a little farther than a dozen roses and a box of chocolates…

According to legends dating back from the Roman times, a saint called Valentine was imprisoned for his actions of continuing to perform marriages for young lovers secretly, after Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriages ( because young men made better soldiers than husbands). While in prison, Saint Valentine send the first “Valentine” after he fell in love with a young girl who constantly visited him during his imprisonment. Turns out, this young woman could have possible been the jailor’s daughter. At the conclusions of this love letter, he signed “Love your Valentine,” an expression still used to this day.

But why on February 14th? Why is it on this day that we choose to celebrate this act of kindness? Information from the past does not give a single reason for this, but there are two myths that have been passed down through generations. First, it is believed that it is celebrated in the middle of the month to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s burial. Secondly, it is said that the Christian church placed Saint Valentine’s Day Feast in the middle of the month to “Christianize” the celebration of Lupercalia, who is the Roman god of agriculture. February 14th became the day associated with love, when the beginning of birds’ mating season began. Hence, not only the harbinger of spring, the birds also became the proclaimers of Valentine’s Day— a day of love and romance.

As lovely gestures of handwritten notes and acts of chivalry continued throughout the 1600’s, it still continues to the 21st century. Today, handwritten notes are not as popular as they once were, and couples generally don’t typically have the same intentions of lovers back in the day. Currently, lovers take the idea of Valentine’s Day a little more modern; nearly $13.19 billion are spend annually on Valentine’s Day, making it the second most popular holiday after Christmas. It is a holiday where the average person in the relationship tends to spend approximately $116.21 for their loved ones. But for Shah Jahan, his idea on the perfect Valentine was a bit larger than most.

During the 1600’s, he lost his wife, Mumtaz Mahal during the birth of his fourteenth child. He loved her so much and had such deep sorrow for her loss. He could have easily replaced her with another queen, but chose not to because of the everlasting love he had for her. In her honor, he constructed something so fantastic and great; any women would love to have in her memory. It is 350 years old, took 20,000 men to complete, covered with semiprecious jewels, and is located in Agra, India. This mausoleum became known was Mumtaz’s Palace, which in Hindi, is Mumtaz’s Mahal, which is then shortened to Taj Mahal. This building commemorates the grace and beauty of his lost wife; the sun shines so beautiful on the white marble. With twenty-four stories high, and sitting on a platform larger than a football field’s length squared, the Taj Mahal is the World’s Largest Valentine.

Although the idea of Valentine’s Day still exists from the Roman times, the act of showing and giving is represented in a different manner. Love letters have turned into roses, and acts of chivalry have turned into a box of chocolates. Will you continue the current trend? Or will you date back from the ancient times and surprise your loved ones with something a bit more meaningful? Though traditions have been altered throughout the years, the true importance of Valentine’s Day still lingers on, now, and for years to come.

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