Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine’s Day 23.1.2012

Today is Saint Valentine's Day, commonly shortened to Valentine's Day, is a holiday observed on February 14 honouring one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine. It was first established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD, and was later deleted from the General Roman Calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI. The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). Modern Valentine's Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.
Valentine's Day is mentioned ruefully by Ophelia in Hamlet (1600–1601):
To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes,
And dupp'd the chamber-door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.
William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5
Ella sent the lovely First Day Cover and the booklet shown here. They were issued on 23rd January 2012. The Finns celebrate this day as “The Friendship Day”. Six symbols for friendship. This year's Valentine's Day stamps are designed by Päivi Unenge, a Finnish illustrator living in Sweden. The miniature booklet called I Heart You! contains six self-adhesive stamps and motifs including little girls, birds, pets, and, naturally, hearts.
The heart symbolizes friendship – be it between friends or lovers. Friendship is vital, and friends carry all joys and sorrows. “I hope that these cheerful and colorful stamps bring joy to people in the middle of the darkest winter”, says artist Päivi Unenge.

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