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Feel the Love with a Sparkling Rose´

By W Peter Hoyne

Valentine’s Day remains a lasting symbol of romance and courtship although it is shrouded in legends, mystery and intrigue. It seems to have begun in ancient Rome with the festival of Lupercalia, celebrated in mid-February. This was a fertility ritual where men were paired with a partner.

Another account suggests the origin of this day dates back to the third century during the reign of emperor Claudius II Gothicus. The emperor had outlawed marriage of young men who he believed would perform better as soldiers without having a wife or family. A priest named Valentinus performed secret marriages for young lovers despite this decree. After his actions were disclosed, he was martyred on February 14th.

According to another legend, a Christian who had been jailed in a Roman prison fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and healed her of her blindness. Before his death on February 14th he sent the young girl a note signed “From your Valentine.”

Although the true origin of Valentine’s Day is veiled in legends and myths, it is a day commemorated around the world. In Denmark, while chocolate and flowers have been commonplace since the 1900’s the custom of sending a Gaekkebrev to a friend or lover has existed since the 1400’s. A Gaekkebrev is the cutting of a snowflake design from a folded piece of fine paper with a poem or love note written inside. The note is signed with a series of dots, one for each letter of the sender's name. The recipeient has to guess who sent the letter and will then receive a chocolate egg from the sender if it is correct.

In France, the capital of love and romance, the French celebrate Valentine’s Day, “La Saint-Valentin” similar to that in the US with romantic gourmet dinners, jewelry and roses. This date is reserved for adult couples who share l’amour. It is thought that the French Duke of Orléans, while imprisoned in London in 1415 wrote love letters to his wife in France. This was believed to be the origin of French Valentine’s Day cards known as cartes d'amitiés.

In the Phillipines, February 14th, Valentine’s Day, is known as Araw ng mga Puso in Filipino. This is a romantic occasion when Filipinos recognize the loved shared between their family, friends and significant others. Couples gather on the shores of Manila Bay for a long midnight kiss while the goverernment and churches sponsor mass weddings for couples.

In Japan, the tradition for Valentine’s Day began in the 1950’s. Confectioners targeted women to buy chocolates for their husbands and significant others. It therefore became customary for women to give men chocolate on Valentine’s Day. On March 14th, designated as “White Day” men have to return the favor to their companions. Different chocolates have different meanings. Honmei-choco, translates as “true feelings chocolate” and is shared with romatic partners while Giri-choco which translates as “obligatory chocolate” is shared with co-workers and friends.

Bulgaria celebrates February 14th as “Trifon Zarezan Day” named after a christian martyr from the third century. This day is a tribute to Saint Trifon, the patron saint of the vineyards and has special significance as the “day of the winemaker.” Legend has it that while St Trifon was trimming the vines in the vineyarards, he was captivated by the beauty of a woman walking through the fields. He was so enamored by her appearance that he inadvertantly cut part of his nose while gazing at her. Couples celebrate Saint Trifon and their love for each other during this holiday by sharing a glass of local wine.

In recognizing these customs, Valentine’s Day remains a lasting symbol of romance and courtship throughout the world. It is Cupid’s moment as we express our affection with flowers, chocolates, or a lavish day at a spa. The extravagant lover may have considered a rendezvous in Paris with a midnight cruise on the Siene, but for the moment, it may be easiest to express our sentiments with a quiet candlelit dinner paired with a memorable bottle of rose´.

Psychology tells us that the color red is associated with confidence and strength. It can also signify our deepest desires and evoke the passion we share for one another.

For this meaningful day, the obvious choice is a Rose´ Champagne or a sparkling rose´ from anywhere in the world, perhaps even paired with some white chocolate. This meaningful expression will convey the love and devotion that you share with one another.

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