February 14th Celebrations
Yesterday was a day of celebration in many ways … it was
1. Chinese New Year, with 2010 being the Year of the Tiger;
2. Valentines Day; and
3. My big brother Chris’s birthday … Happy Christmas big brother, hope you enjoy the scotch 🙂
While Chris’s birthday is a big deal for him (especially given it’s a special number he has reached) I thought a little background on the two bigger events of the day would be interesting.
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in the Chinese culture. It is sometimes called the Lunar New Year. The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th. This day is celebrated as the Lantern Festival. This year it will be celebrated on February 14th 2010 and is the year of the Tiger.
Red envelopes or red packets are passed out during Chinese New Year celebrations from married couples or the elderly to children. The red envelopes contain money varying from a few dollars to hundreds. However the amount given in the envelope is always of even numbers, as odd numbers are associated with cash given at funerals. Within the Chinese culture, the number 4 is considered bad luck and the money in the envelope should never add up to 4. The number 8 is considered good luck, and most often 8 dollars is found in the envelopes.
The Chinese New Year celebrations are marked by visiting friends and relatives and new clothing is worn to signify a new year. The colour red is used in all decorations. The last day of the New Year, the fifteenth day, is celebrated with a Lantern Festival, where families walk the street carrying lighted lanterns. This marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities.
Every February 14th all across the country and the world, candy, flowers , cards and gifts are exchanged between loved ones all in the name of St. Valentine.
There are many legends of the way that Saint Valentines Day originated. Many date back to as early as 270 A.D. One legend goes like this. the ruler of the time, Emperor Claudius II, thought unmarried soldiers would make better soldiers, and so he forbade them to marry. A bishop named Valentine who was stationed at the Roman Empire at that time took pity on the soldiers and young lovers and began to perform secret marriages. He was soon found out and jailed. Another part of the legend states that while in jail, Valentine fell in love with his jailer’s daughter. Just before his death, he sent her a note and signed it “from your Valentine,” An expression that is stilled used today.
After his death, Valentine became a Patron Saint. Some considered him the spiritual overseer of an annual festival in which young Romans would distribute cards of affection to those they wished to see. The festival was held each February 14. Some valentine cards can be found in museums that date back to 1415.
Today, Valentines Day has become one of the most popular holidays. After Christmas, it is the largest card-sending holiday of the year. Common symbols of Valentines Day today are hearts, cupid, roses, teddy bears, and bow and arrows. Cupid with bows and arrows represent Roman mythology. Cupid was the son of Venus, the goddess of love. The shot of the arrow would strike the unsuspecting desired person or god, making him fall in love.