Thursday, February 13, 2014

History of Valentine's Day Celebration



History of Valentine's Day Celebration

Every year, February 14 is celebrated as the day of love and romance in the memory of St. Valentine. On this day, we share and express our emotions by giving especially chosen gifts, greetings and flowers. The feeling of Valentine's Day fills us with unexpected joy and warmth. But do you know how, why and when it was started. Let explore the history of Valentine's Day to make it even more special and meaningful.

According to Catholic Church, there were three saints named Valentine who were martyred in the name of divine love.

Saint who perform secret marriages:

When Emperor Claudius II restricted marriages of young men because he believed single men perform better in military then those with wives and families, a saint named Valentine stood against this. He defied the outrageous law and continued performing secret marriages for young couples. When the secret was opened, he was imprisoned and killed.



First Valentine Greeting:

Another legend states that Roman emperors even after three hundred years after the death of Jesus Christ were forcing people to worship Roman gods. When a Christian priest named Valentine keep on practicing Christianity, he was put in prison. 

There he did a miracle by giving sight to the blind daughter of the jailer. For following Christianity and doing the miracle, he was executed on February 14. The day before his death, he sent a farewell letter to the girl, signing it 'From Your Valentine'. It was the first valentine greeting, which set a tradition of sending greetings, love quotes and poems to the loved ones. Today, in America, more than 1 billion cards are sent every year on Valentine's Day.



Why February?

It was believed that St. Valentine was executed on February 14. To remember him and his teachings of love, Valentine's Day is celebrated on this date. Another story states that Roman people celebrate the harvest festival of Lupercalia, which was celebrated on February 15. 

The festival was dedicated to Roman god of fertility and the founders of Roman Empire. Celebrating Valentine's Day on February 14 was the Christian effort of 'Christianizing' the pagan feast.

In the Middle Age, it was considered that the birds start mating from 14th February. So it was anyways related with love and romance.

Gifts

People not just use greetings but also acquire numerous gifts to express their emotions. While flowers, candies, chocolates, plush gifts and gift baskets are the regular gifts, many people even choose fine yellow gold sapphire rings, gemstone earrings, watches, holiday packages and many lavish presents to make it a treasured event of the year.

People also considered it as an auspicious day for engagement and wedding. Gradually, proposing on Valentine's Day is becoming a trend. Like Christmas and New Year, it is another significant day to create milestone moments.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Where to Spend the Chinese New Year in China



Where to Spend the Chinese New Year in China

Otherwise known as the Spring Festival in China, the Chinese New Year takes place at the end of January or beginning of February, depending on when the lunar calendar ends that year. The Spring Festival is one of the biggest events in the Chinese calendar and holds many customs and traditions that are carried out all over the country; here is a guide to the Chinese New Year and where best to spend it, should you be lucky enough to get to visit the country during the festivities.

The history

The Spring Festival is the longest event in the Chinese calendar, running for 15 days between the last day of the lunar calendar until the 15th of its first new month. Otherwise known as the Lantern Festival, it traditionally acts as an honour to the country's deities and ancestors.

A number of traditions are still carried out throughout the festival, including the giving of red envelopes to children by the elderly and married couples containing money, which are said to ward off evil for that child.

Beijing

The country's capital is one of the best places in the world to spend the Chinese holiday. Dragon and lion dances are performed throughout the city and people come together to feast on traditional cuisine. The Temple Fair also occurs in Beijing, when the city's temples and parks open their gates to carnivals and festivities.

Hong Kong

The fireworks during the Chinese New Year in Hong Kong are world renowned and celebrate a time for family; whilst many local families live apart due to work commitments, the Spring Festival brings them together in one huge celebration. Victoria Harbour usually provides the best display with one long, loud round of fireworks.

Shanghai

The Lantern Festival is the last day of the festivities and is best celebrated in Shanghai, where an endless view of coloured lanterns line the city accompanied by dancing, music and tasty treats. There is plenty of street food to enjoy, from grilled spicy squid to tangyuan - a traditional sweet of sticky sweet balls of rice flour.

The Great Wall of China

The country's most iconic landmark is always a popular destination during the Spring Festival and is often busy with visitors to China, as well as locals. There are many ways of getting to the Great Wall, and a number of touring operators include this trip as a part of their Chinese New Year tours, but there are also direct buses and trains to the prominent landmark.

This article was written by Thom Sanders, on behalf of Wendy Wu Tours, who are famed for their holidays to China. Guests get the chance to see a range of famous landmarks during their Great Wall of China tours.

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