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Valentine’s Day

February 3, 2009

Legends abound surrounding the history of Valentine's Day and its patron saint, St. Valentine. According to legend the holiday began as an ancient Roman festival of Lupercalis/Lupercalia, a fertility celebration commemorated on February 15. Lupercalia was considered a pagan holiday and as Christianity came to dominance in Europe the festival became a Christian feast day for the Roman martyr Saint Valentine.

About Saint Valentine. Saint Valentine was a priest during third century Rome. The story goes that Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men because he decided single men made better soldiers. Valentine defied Claudius and performed marriages for young lovers in secret. When Claudius found out he was put to death.

Another legend believes Valentine sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself while in prison. Apparently he fell in love with the jailor's daughter, who visited him during his confinement. He wrote her a letter, before his death, signed 'From your Valentine', an expression we still use today.

As much as I hate to admit it, I always dreaded Valentine's Day before I met my husband. Everywhere you turned 'Madison Avenue' reinforced Valentine's Day was a holiday for couples. Romantic love need only apply!

Chocolate for the one you love, diamonds for the one you love, dinner at a romantic restaurant, roses, and carriage rides, the list goes on and on.

But what about all the other kinds of love there are to celebrate - love for friends, family, pets, our hobbies, ourselves, life.

Why not use Valentine's Day to celebrate whatever we love most in life. No romantic partnerships right now? Throw a party for friends. Gather girlfriends for a pajama party and rent your favorite movies. Share what you love most about each other. Take your niece, nephew out for a Valentine's Day lunch. Spend the day doing what you love most. Love yourself - book a day at the spa.

On you'll find menus, music and Tablescape ideas to help you create a memorable Valentine's Day. Enjoy Chef Valerio Castellano's Valentine's Day menu.

However, you spend the day we wish you a Happy Valentine's Day!


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